Breaking Out of the Zone

The routines of the school year are dropped every summer.  New routines may be established for continuing education.  Even for those who are not controlled by school schedules summer is a time for changing up the routines with vacations and other outings.

It is important for each of us to break away from the major routines of life periodically.  Routines become ruts too easily.  Then we start to believe that what we are experiencing is all there is to life.  Breaks like vacations get us out of those zones and help us to see the wider world.

My fourth-grade year was spent half in St. Louis, Missouri, and half in Eden, Texas.  St. Louis is a big city.  Eden is a small town of about one thousand people but it is the largest town in Concho County, Texas.  It shocked me that in both places there were people who had not been outside of their communities.  They knew no one who had different experiences than theirs.  It showed up in their attitudes toward anything different.

Of course, I did not know their worlds either.  I had to learn about city buses and movie theaters, about cabrito and prickly pears.  At that time I knew more about slash and burn agriculture than cattle ranching.  So my worldview was forced to expand in many different ways.

The lessons from those early experiences are, unfortunately, forgotten too easily.  I still need to be reminded occasionally that this is a great big world with many different ways of life.  I bet you need to be reminded every now and then also.

Those reminders are more important now it seems in these times when we can be insulated from others. Instead of expanding our worldview and helping us to appreciate other cultures, the internet is often used to help us find others who have our own prejudices and opinions.  Instead of being challenged to get out of our comfort zones, we insulate ourselves from anything different.  We deem people to be smart when they articulate what we are already thinking rather than challenge us to think differently.

So this summer, whether you get to travel or if you have a staycation, I encourage you to break out of your zone.  Discover something new.  Interact with people with different lifestyles and experiences.  Widen your worldview and you will re-discover what we all have in common as human beings.

Then maybe we will stop judging others so quickly or harshly.  We might even discover that shared wisdom is greater wisdom.

As Christians, we think of God as the Ruler of Heaven and Earth, not just our little village of like-minded people.  Let that God open your eyes and your heart to more of what exists under heaven and on earth.

Phil Konz