Rosh Hashanah 2011: Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

By | October 5, 2011

It's always hard to be the new kid on the block.

One of the prayers of the High Holiday liturgy begins with the statement, “We do not pray for days without number or a life of ease.” I have given the line considerable thought lately and have come to the conclusion that the second part of the statement is probably more important than the first. I had always thought that the second part of the statement had to do with material wealth. But now I am not so sure. I began to think of all of the worthwhile things I do almost by rote and then it hit me. Doing the things that you are already comfortable with doesn’t really change or improve the world. I think that what God wants of me is to get out of my comfort zone, either to do new things in the same old places or the same old things in new places.

Let me give you a concrete example. I usually attend the Tumor Board at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center every Wednesday morning at 7:30. We discuss interesting cancer cases from the past week and the participants offer suggestions about the care the patients should receive. It is a very comfortable thing for me to do. I know everyone there and they know me. But today I am going to get out of my comfort zone, just a little bit by attending the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center Tumor Board with my friend Hany Farid, a general and oncologic surgeon who practices mainly in the North and Central San Fernando Valley. I ran into Hany today at Valley Presbyterian Medical Center and he told me that they don’t have anyone in the field of pain management who attends their Tumor Board and suggested that I come. It’s funny how chance meetings help you to do the things that you should have already been doing. I actually know many of the participants at the Holy Cross Tumor Board and have heard good things about, but without Hany’s kind offer to bolster my confidence, I wonder how long it would have taken me to get up my courage to actually attend.

L’Shanah Tovah! Happy New Year!

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