Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Uncomfortably Comfortable

Comfortable

I like how Merriam Webster sometimes defines words that have several meanings, all being very similar, but the app just tweaks it alittle bit.  This is what the synonym discussion of comfortable says according to MW:

Comfortable, cozy, snug, easy, restful mean enjoying or providing a position of contentment and security.  

Comfortable applies to anything that encourages serenity, well-being, or complacency as well as physical ease <started feeling comfortable in our new surroundings.

 Cozy suggests warmth, shelter, assured ease, and friendliness < a cozy neighborhood coffee shop.

 Snug suggests having just enough space for comfort and safety but no more <a snug little cottage.

 Easy implies relief from or absence of anything likely to cause discomfort or constraint <living in easy circumstances.

Restful applies to whatever induces or contributes to rest or relaxation <a quiet restful vacation.

As I write this I am in comfortable clothes, stretchy pants, a t-shirt, and a light fleece jacket.  Sometime later today I will change my clothes into something less comfortable but able to get dirty as I pull weeds from our flowerbeds.  Right now though, I'm comfortable.

I woke up this morning with this word rattling in my head.  Actually, it's been rattling in my head for awhile, but today seemed to be the day it rattled a little louder as I got my tools cued up and ready to write.  My fingers were almost literally itching to touch the keyboard.  Some days writing is like this for me.  The thought rattling in my head and heart just needs to GET OUT!

I wrote the other day about my friend Rose Marie and how much of a blessing she was to me.  The duty station where she and I met was the last place we were stationed before moving here to Tennessee fifteen years ago.

It's not an exaggeration to say that when we arrived in Tennessee, I was somewhat shell-shocked.  Not bullet shrapnel or anything that invasive, but if words and emotions could shell-shock someone, I was the candidate.

All that being said to say this:  When we moved here and began to catch our breath again, it seemed like we were in a place of great peace.  Nothing was hard to do when we moved here.  Unlike past moves where we spent a significant amount of time and footwork finding grocery stores, shopping, post office, etc., when we moved here, it was like all of that was taken care of before hand, like it had been prepared for us ahead of time.

I found a hairdresser almost immediately!  That never happened before.  We fit into our church, immediately.  Our neighbors were welcoming immediately, and they weren't military housing neighbors!  Everything was just prepared ahead of time for us in those little details that some wouldn't even worry over but were important for me to see.

It was easy to get comfortable quickly and I had no problem doing so.

I remember when our household goods arrived and our house was laden (heavy-laden?) with boxes in every room.  Our bedroom had boxes stacked to the ceiling against the windows so that there was no natural light coming in.  I wanted to unpack but the ready-to-get-it-done-as-fast-as-I-could-Ronda just couldn't get started.  I had reached the point of being tired, hitting the moving and starting over wall.  Maybe it wouldn't have been so hard if the last tour had been better, but I remember feeling, thinking, and saying out loud and to God and to my husband and anyone else who would listen, "I'm done.  I'm not doing this again."

Well, guess what, I haven't done it again since.  But now, I'm getting ready to.  We managed to stay in the same place, with the help of peculiar circumstances maybe in another post I'll share, and not move again for fifteen years, while still being an active duty Navy family up until my husband retired in 2010.

But, I've been seeing that I've gotten a little too comfortable the last few years.  Moving every six months to two years, one doesn't have time to get comfortable.  One of two things usually happens.  One either doesn't unpack anything except the absolute essentials and just lives the day to day till the next move, or, like I did each time, unpack quickly, decorate faster, and get involved in your community in as many ways as you can.

Comfortable can happen whether you are complacent or active.  If you find comfort in being complacent and saying, "I'm only here for a short time, why bother?" then you may have a hard time being taken out of that comfortably complacent zone and adapting to change when it comes along and you have to move with it or get swept away.

Comfortable can really play a trick on someone who is active too.  The constant activity itself is comfortable, so much so that being still for a moment or an hour or half a day or even a day is difficult, unsettling, uncomfortable.  When change comes and you have to stop for whatever reason, sickness, injury, loss of job, whatever may put the brakes on your constantly moving life, you get a little uncomfortable.

Whichever you may or may not be, comfortably complacent or comfortably active, the thoughts of NOT being the opposite brings with them some discomfort.

Sometimes we need to be uncomfortable.  Sometimes we need a kick in our complacent comfortable butts.  We love our busyness too.  We love our constant drive to serve and be served as much as we love not having to do anything but exist.  We love our traditions that don't allow us to change.  We love how comfortable, in whatever way it is packaged, makes us feel.

But you know what?  Those things we love....they don't love us back.

As a matter of fact, those things that don't love us back don't give us a break when we are tired but we don't know how to stop doing what we're doing or not doing, they aren't interested in helping us to stop.  The only thing they love about us is the control their comfort has over us.

So, what are you comfortable in?  Same grocery story, same drive to work, same pew in church, same songs you sing, same activities on Saturday mornings?  What is your comfort zone? If you don't know, ask yourself this:  If I don't do _______ how will I feel?  Does it make you anxious to think about not doing _____________?

Now ask yourself this:  If I don't do _____________ what will I do instead?  If you're complacently comfortable do you feel anxious about adding an activity?  If you are comfortably active do you find yourself thinking:  I couldn't stand not to do anything?

Either scenario, if it makes you anxious or even a little afraid of the change it may bring, I would say it is safe to say, that's where you may be too comfortable.

What can be done?  Nothing, unless you want something to change.  But it won't be easy.  Changing out of comfortable clothes into something a little more constricting is never fun.  You can't breathe as well.  You can't let it all hang out like you can when you wear stretchy pants.  Some of us have to suck it in and keep sucking it in until it's ok to change into stretchy clothes again.

I learned a lot moving around often.  I thought I had moved enough that I didn't need to move anymore to learn anything else about it.  But, I'm moving.  Again.  It's been a nice restful retreat.  It fit, snugly at times, cozy in others, but it's time for new lessons, new stories to be lived, new songs to be sung, new places to explore, new views waiting to be awed.

It's a little uncomfortable, and, I admit, may even cause me to be a little anxious, but that's ok.  It's good.

Change is good.  Being uncomfortable?  That's good too.  Change would never come if we all stayed in our stretchy pants and t-shirts.

Peace,
Ronda






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