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Going Beyond Your Comfort Zone

I love Lent.

As Hannah Boettcher said at choir rehearsal, I love all the music in minor keys. The Bible readings are full of wonderful images and strong language. And many significant things in my life have happened during Lent.

Lent, particularly February is a month of ups and downs. Three parents and a family cat died during February. My youngest son was born in February. I fell in love with Ash Wednesday looking at my eight-day-old son with a smudge of ashes on his forehead. A year later I hated Ash Wednesday when the doctors said that that same child was seriously ill and they had no idea what the problem was. (We never figured out what ailment he had, but he recovered just fine on his own.) Once in a blue moon my March birthday actually falls on Palm Sunday.

Lent has also become for a me a symbol of what can happen when I'm willing to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new.

Twenty-five years ago I was in really black mood. I had already arranged to attend a needlepoint workshop for a project called Peasant Doll. We had to pick our own threads for the project. Peasant doll sounded like it should have a lot of browns and dark blues and dark greens, lots of earthy colors. No problem, those are the colors I like anyway.

I remember going to the store, staring at the wall full of threads and realizing that I felt so miserable I needed to do something totally different and pick thread colors that I would never, ever, normally pick.

Neon turquoise, neon pink, neon green, bright yellow, a tinge of red for the hair. While I might use these colors for highlight or accents, I would never think of using them in large blocks on a project.

I went to the workshop that I really didn't feel like attending, and started to place these bright, unusual colors on my peasant doll. And I fell in love with her.

For 25 years she has been my feel-good doll. She makes me smile every time I look at her. And she reminds me that stepping outside my comfort zone has the potential to result in something beautiful.

What beauty awaits outside your comfort area?

- Ann Warner

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