Friday, April 15, 2011

Looking Through the Familiar

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I took down the Bible verses that were taped to my kitchen windows. They had become too normal, too familiar, almost a part of the windows themselves. The paper was curling on the corners, and they no longer were serving their purpose; for I had begun to not even notice them. I found myself looking through them and around them, but never at them.

How often, Lord, do I look through or around things or people that You place in front of me? How often do things become too normal or too familiar for me to even notice? How often do You become too normal or familiar for me to notice? And yet, You are anything but normal and familiar. There is a mystery to You that my human, finite mind can't comprehend. You are God, Jehovah, whom the highest heavens can't even contain.

Oh Lord, there are things all around that I see and don't even realize they dishonor You; for they have become too normal, too familiar. There are things I say that dishonor You, but they also have become too familiar. I sometimes exchange Your standards with the world's standards, but I don't notice-the world's standards have become too normal and familiar.

There are people that I turn away from when I shouldn't-they are too familiar. I find myself looking through them instead of at them; the homeless person on the corner, the hurting people standing around after a natural disaster, the people around that are hard to love. They are all too familiar to me for they are everywhere.

And yet, I noticed the bird yesterday. It was hurt and couldn't fly. It was left to walk around, looking for some type of food, almost certain to die. I found myself looking at it, feeling compassion for it. I didn't turn away, but instead I watched it, wondering if there was a way to help. It was unfamiliar.

I see him on the street corner. He is hurt, with a broken spirit. He is left to walk around, looking for some type of food, almost without any sense of hope. I find myself looking through him, not at him. I turn away trying to appear busy in my van, looking for something or changing the radio station. I don't want to lock eyes, to see the pain, the need for money, afraid I will be asked to interact and become uncomfortable. "Besides", I rationalize with myself, "he will probably just buy alcohol with the money." He has become too familiar to my eyes.

Familiarity or normalcy is comfortable to me. Could it be that things I find uncomfortable become too familiar, too normal in my quest to become comfortable? If I can just look through them or around them, I don't have to look at them; for looking at them will bring me discomfort. If I wasn't concerned with my comfort, would I see him on the corner? Would I see the hurting people around me?

I felt shame as I was faced with reality. Was it true? Do I really have more compassion in my heart for that bird than I do for hurting people? Oh Lord, may it not be! Give me Your eyes.

May I not desire comfort over Your desire for me to see. May I not live only in the familiar or normal, looking through or around things and people, but may I see things and people as You see them.

Oh Lord, may I not live normal, but instead passionately for You.

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