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Familiar Smamiliar…

Familiarity, we have a problem. And it is no small problem.

I am a person who likes to be known. I think this is the case for most people. We like familiarity.

The warm smile of recognition, the extended arms open for an embrace, the gentle pat on the shoulder that says, “I know you, and I am glad to see you.”

We like to cut through all the pretense and get to a place where the person or people we are with accept us right away. This is good and right.

But familiarity is also a problem.

As an example, look at the disciples of Jesus. Familiar enough with Jesus – or perhaps familiar enough with their interpretation of Jesus – that they often missed what he was teaching them.

The problem with familiarity is that it programs us to see what we want to see and keeps us from seeing those things which we need to see.

Familiarity makes us think, “I know this person, I know what they will say, I know how they will act, I know what they have to offer me.”

Familiarity breeds our need for novelty, and while novelty is fun, it is too shallow. It wears off and we are left once again with the familiar. The boring familiar.

Let’s stop assuming the familiar is just a place where we can be ourselves, and look instead for how the familiar might be just an icon we have created in order to not be deep people. Let’s move beyond familiar – not to novelty – but to a genuine knowing of the other that can and will dig deep roots into the soil of life.

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