beyond the comfort zone

So I’ve been right outside my comfort zone this week and I have loved it. I’m back in Bulgaria, visiting dear friends from way back who are doing astonishing work to bring about deinstitutionalisation of the orphanages here. (You can read about my previous visit here and here.)

This is what it looks like outside.

Beautiful, isn’t it? The only problem is that inside the central heating has broken down. Now anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a complete wimp about being cold. I have even been known to take a hot water bottle to bed in May. If you had told me the situation before I left I honestly might have wondered if I could cope. I can now see how pathetic that was and how much very good stuff I would have missed if I had chickened out. And frankly, I may be wearing a fleece and a woolly hat in bed but I am managing to have a perfectly good sleep every night!

This is a small and rather silly example but it did make me wonder how much else might be passing me by because of rigid ideas about what I need in order to function – and how many opportunities I might be missing to do something useful. My friends have been telling me about their early days out here and thoroughly humbling me. I’ll save you the horror stories of giving birth in a provincial Bulgarian hospital, but as another example, they moved into an unfinished house with a one-year-old child and all slept together on the floor while they gradually decorated it and installed a kitchen.

It is quite horrifying to think that if they had refused the challenge of moving well outside their comfort zone, many abandoned children here could still be incarcerated in a dilapidated, understaffed orphanage instead of settled in the beautiful small group homes that their charity has set up