Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Familiarity Breeds Contempt?

Those of us who live and serve in Alaska in the United Methodist Church experience seasons of wanting to be somewhere else.  The myth of greener grass should be translated in Alaska to the "myth of grass anywhere."  Yes, we do get tired of all the snow and ice, especially in Anchorage where we set a new record with over 133" of snow.  There is at least 3 feet of it piled in my yard.  

One of the reasons we enjoy hosting family and friends in Alaska is that we get the opportunity to look at our homeland with fresh eyes.  There is some truth to the old saying that "familiarity breeds contempt."  The more acquainted one becomes with a person or a place, the more one knows about his or her shortcomings and, hence, the easier it is to dislike that person or place.  

Sometimes I look at Alaska and confess to a bit of contempt for this place especially when the cold never seems to loosen its grip.  Last week I spent a night at our cabin in Willow and had a conversation with God about this.  It's almost funny but the mere fact of talking about my feelings about the never ending snow helped me to see with fresh eyes.  As I thought about what it would be like to live in a place without this beauty I was suddenly filled with gratitude to God for the gift of being in this great land.  

Perhaps we experience this same reality with God.  Can our familiarity with God ever lead to a contempt or at least indifference?  I think the answer lies somewhere in the spiritual process of looking at God with fresh eyes.  We do not know everything there is to know about God.  Thank God for mystery!  Like Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, "we see now through a glass darkly, but then we shall see face to face."  

God help us all to see the mystery and the reality of God in fresh ways.  The result will always be a heart filled with gratitude.

Grace Always,

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