The Joyful Reward Of Being Uncomfortable

Sudden change evokes a sense of excitement and fear. There’s something rather basic and primal about being shaken from ones comfort zone. The circus became just that after nearly two decades. The spirit of ease weighed heavily upon me and why not? I had everything and everyone I needed. A great job, beautiful colleagues, constant travel, and best of all, my family was alongside me; and not in an idle manner either. My wife was Production Manager and my children were, like their dad, performers. The entire family was employed. Children were educated and looked after and home was aboard the legendary great American circus train. There was nothing wrong with my life. But, alas, that’s not how things work. People are living beings and all living beings must evolve – an uncomfortable reality, but, a reality nonetheless. Change, the only constant, always expected, yet hardly ever welcomed, is terrifically uncomfortable. I liked my normal. I loved my routine, but it wasn’t real. We aren’t designed for routines. Shifts must occur or we atrophy. I was grateful for my life in the circus, more so, now that it is no more. I am very uncomfortable. I am not exactly happy. I have to create a new existence for my family and myself. I am anxious, scared even. However, this is where excitement shadows me. I have a terrific opportunity to recreate and rebrand myself, away from the safety of someone else’s vision. As long as one is under the vision of others, you’re never your own, you’re just comfortable.

Now is the time I engage in one of the greatest of American past times – the recreation of self. American history is littered with personalities who recomposed the narrative of their lives, some many more times than others. At this hour in my life, I find myself emboldened by figures as wide-ranging and diverse, as John Newton, Malcolm X, Merle Haggard and George Foreman, among others. People whose legacies stand in stark contrast to their origins. I am sustained by the reality that this road I now travel, is in fact, well worn with the footprints of those who once found themselves situated in the throes of discomfort, even despair, only to break forth into someone greater than what they once were.

It’s a daunting, yet liberating process to stretch, see things anew, and tap into a recess of consciousness that in the bosom of ease was left untouched. Thus, in this spirit, I embrace discomfort and all the angst that come with it. Growth is a humbling and often painful process, particularly when it is unexpectedly hoisted upon you. It’s simply how evolution works. Therefore, I choose to “count it all joy…!” If I’ve learned anything from my wondrous years under the big top, it is the simple act of devotion. No matter what, keep grinding. You can’t control everything, but you can be certain you’re anything but helpless. There’s always something you can put your hand to do (no matter how minuscule), especially the cultivation of relationships. Therefore, “let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” As agonizing and uncertain as this moment may be, I embrace all of it, as necessary for the joyful reward of being uncomfortable.

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