I caught wind of a story today about a book being banned that set me off. Then I found out that the story is from two years ago, but decided to be mad anyway.

Because this isn’t about a book. It’s about our desire to take the easy road when faced with problems in life. 

I speak from experience when I tell you that in some places of the country, the truth is hidden away. Locked in a cellar. Never to be talked about. 

In 2017, the Biloxi, Mississippi school district removed To Kill a Mockingbird from the 8th grade reading list because some of the language in the book “made parents uncomfortable.” 

The classic novel, by Harper Lee, features a white lawyer who defends an innocent black man during the Great Depression in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. (Which could have easily been Anytown, Mississippi.) The story deals with racism and is considered to be one of the most important novels ever published on the subject. As such, it’s been required reading for many middle and high school students across America since 1960, when it was originally published. 

Sure, some of the language used in the book is definitely uncomfortable (to say nothing of the allegations.) But it’s in perfect context to the setting—and it uncovers the deep roots of racism in our country that still bears fruit today. 

Only, dealing with racism is uncomfortable. Not unlike most every problem we face in life. 

So here’s the thing—if you live life to be comfortable you’re selling yourself short. 

Life itself is uncomfortable. 

Childbirth, for example, is incredibly painful for both the mother and child (and while hard to watch, the discomfort level for fathers is way different. But worth it.)

And after you have that child, you parent it. For the rest of your life. Again, not the most comfortable thing ever. (Speaking from experience on this one.)

Growth is uncomfortable. Want to lose weight to strengthen your heart? Uncomfortable as hell.

Change is uncomfortable. Getting sober is no picnic.

The hard work required to accomplish ANYTHING EVER is not what you’d call comfortable. 

Hell, LOVE is uncomfortable. Oh no? Do you not have another human being you must constantly compromise with? Or did anyone ever let you down? Leave you? Die? And what about falling in love?? Yeah, that’s real comfortable.

Life is constant change. And change is mostly uncomfortable. But trying to live any other way than embracing change and overcoming discomfort is folly. And you don’t overcome discomfort to get comfortable. You overcome it to move past it and face the next challenge that comes your way in life. 

“God forges us on an anvil of adversity for a purpose known only to Him. That is the way He prepares us for life.” – J.E. Broyhill 

If this or any book, painting, or work of art makes you uncomfortable in the sense that it challenges you to think differently, rather than turn away from it and ignore it, consider it an opportunity for growth. To embrace change. 

Encourage kids to read To Kill a Mockingbird. Regardless of your comfort level. Think of it as a way to begin solving a problem that’s been hanging around our necks for far too long. 

You want to live life for comfort and convenience? They made a movie about that.



The Price of a Good Idea
The Butcher

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.