I was mingling at church this last Sunday morning when a member, a big burly guy named Wil, approached me and, pulling cheap-seat baseball tickets from his pocket, asked me if I was doing anything Monday night. I tensed up; I knew I had nothing going on, and I wanted to keep it that way. But my honesty demanded I say I had nothing going on. And when he asked me if I wanted to go to a local minor league baseball game, my mind said no, but my mouth said yes. I didn’t want to say yes. I like going to baseball games, but only with my Dad. My Dad was already going to the game, but with my sister, and the ticket I was given meant I would likely be sitting alone. Not the situation I wanted. But I had said yes, so I sighed deeply, grit my teeth, and decided to go with it. Maybe I could arrive late or leave early.
Then Monday evening, forty-five minutes before I would leave for the game, Wil called and asked if I’d like a free upgrade to a corporate sponsored deck in the outfield. His wife had to cancel, so he was asking if I wanted to be his plus one. That meant watching the game from the exclusive outfield observation decks and getting all-you-can-eat food and drink. Now this could be interesting.
I ended up having a great evening. Lots of brats, hot dogs, chips, sodas, and a great view of the sun-cloaked game on the diamond, giving me my very own ‘Field of Dreams’ moment. And I snagged a baseball, which I later gave to my Dad. I was very grateful for the experience.
As the evening drew to an end, I recalled how this all started with me not wanting to go at all, yet here I was with the coolest situation in the house. It reminded me of how if we push past the “boundaries” of our comfort zones, some pretty cool things could happen. I’m not saying they automatically will, but that the odds that they could increase when we choose to venture out. When I look back at the past fourteen years of my life, I’ve gotten to experience some pretty amazing things; one thing they all have in common was none of them happened inside my comfort zone.
Last night’s ballgame experience was a reminder I’ve been playing it all way too safe. As a result, I’ve nurtured a self-preservation that’s taken my eyes off the big picture and have thus missed out on a lot of great possibilities. Very few good things happen inside our comfort zones. Perhaps if we all started to push back against the confinements of our comfort zones, we would all find ourselves in a wide open spaciousness of wonder and gratitude for all that is happening.