Bonsai trees are cool. If you’re not familiar with them, let me briefly summarize them for you. From memory. Pardon me if my summary is not correct. The Japanese noticed how the trees grew on the mountainsides, and how they were stunted and miniature versions of the regular trees. Eventually this led to them re-creating the trees for their gardens. The bonsai trees are planted in small pots, treated and trimmed in such a way that in five, ten, or twenty years, the gardener has a living, mini version of a tree.
This reminds me of a life lesson I learned over the summer. While on a backpacking trip in Colorado, we hiked through the Rocky Mountain wilderness. The day we made it to the top of a mountain, our guides stopped us and brought to our attention an analogy. The top of the mountain is absolutely beautiful. You can see for miles, and for once, you aren’t hiking uphill. However, the same trees we saw thriving in the valley were stunted as we got higher up, until the only things growing at the peak were moss and grass. The peak is beautiful, but it’s not good for growing things.
Your comfort zone may be peaceful and non-intimidating, but you won’t get much growth there. To be sure, there are times when comfort zones and contentment are needed, for “There is a time for everything” (Ecclesiastes 3). There are times to be on the mountaintop. But seeing how I’ve just been placed into a new spot, a new school, a new start, I can’t let it be put to waste. I must step get out of my comfort zone and take a good look at how I do life. But above all, I must be present. Life is a whole lot more fun when we show up and pitch in. So I invite you to join me in my endeavor. Try having lunch with someone new. Join a club. Serve somewhere. Chat with a friend over coffee. Be immersed in community. Do life spontaneously.