As I navigated bumper to bumper traffic in Central Florida this weekend, I felt my anxiety escalate. The giant bridges with no emergency lanes caused me to grip the steering wheel a little tighter. The extra fourteen lanes around me made me second guess all my turns and lane changes. I was definitely out of my element, but it was nice to do something different for a change.
We explored a beautiful botanical garden and met up with some old and new friends. We hiked through several nature preserves and got to see an old fort from the Spanish-American War. The sights were spectacular including tons of ospreys, hundreds of sprouting century plants, and dolphins right off the edge of the dock. The water was beautiful, and the temperature was perfect for being outdoors.
And yet, we were still out of our comfort zone. Hundreds, if not thousands of people were around us constantly. The beaches were covered in people speaking an assortment of languages or using a variety of expletives. It was a whole different way of life than we are used to and it made us both a little uncomfortable at times.
We took the backway home and meandered through some smaller towns and lots of wooded areas. Both of us could feel our bodies relaxing as the trees increased and the towns decreased. Our breathing slowed and the grip on my steering let up a little bit. The surroundings became familiar and soon we were in our part of the world where we knew the roads, stores, and people. It was so nice to come home.
But for a few days, the change of scenery was good, too. Taking a chance and doing something different was eye opening. The sights inspired me to think about life differently. And the amount of people and traffic made me realize how special Madison really is. We are blessed to be a in a small town, but don’t need to get too comfortable. If I came home with anything, it’s that there is a huge world out there. A huge world that needs to be reached with kindness, love, hope, and faith. While I was admittedly uncomfortable, I believe it’s in those moments of discomfort that we grow the most.
Do something this week to get out of your comfort zone. Let’s grow together.