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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gifts We Have Not Yet Inventoried

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The saying “familiarity breeds contempt” misstates what I believe to be a common occurrence.  I would rather say that “familiarity breeds familiarity”—the assumption that we know and understand in all significant ways those in our environment.  Sometimes this assumption can lead to astonishment when, for example, someone we think we know well suddenly surprises us at a party by ably playing a musical instrument.  It’s as if unexpectedly our view changes from two to three dimensions.  This person had a hidden dimension that we were totally unaware of although we had been assuming we knew all significant things about them.  Suddenly our old assumption is overturned and we see them in a new light.  The art of living is to remain open to revelatory moments when the familiar and assumed undergo a parting of the clouds to offer glimpses of underlying capacities.  We should strive to see others as carriers of the unexpected and take for granted that they abound in gifts we have not yet inventoried.

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