The Forgotten Power of the Familiar

We look all around and forget to look across the table. We listen to fifteen-thousand words a day and forget to hear the five that matter, the five they needed us to hear.

We seek the stories that stir our faith and forget to let the lives lived nearest speak the loudest.

We show up for the stranger and forget that our presence is somehow most important to the ones we see the most.

We are quick to see the image of God in the ones we barely know, and we forget that the ones whose faults and imperfections slice and scar and sear our own are bearers of His image too.

We pray for the beggar, for the victim, for the fallen, and we forget to whisper before the Throne the names of those dearest to us.

Familiarity has made us forget. Familiarity has blinded us to their need. Familiarity has stolen what it was intended to increase.

And our God must wonder--as we kneel to serve the wounded--why we're so quick to wound the most familiar members of the family He fathers. Why sisters slice the throats of the ones they can reach and then reach for the farther off with the tenderness of a mother.

Because we have forgotten the power of familiarity, of family.

We have forgotten that our words have the most power over the ones who hear the most of them.

We have forgotten that our prayers can be the most specific for the ones whose lives we know the most specifics of.

We have forgotten the tenderness with which He washed the feet of the ones who sat right there at His table (John 13). He knew where those feet had stepped, knew just how dirty they were, knew just what clung to their sweated skin. Those feet had stepped on His toes in ways the feet of the masses never could. He had seen the stones those feet had kicked in frustration. He had seen the silent tears that fell in the dust around those sandaled soles. Oh, if any feet have hurt our Lord, it was theirs. And those are the feet He knelt to bathe in sweetest grace and kindest mercy.

Because the sweetest grace is the grace that knows just what it soothes.

The kindest mercy is the mercy that knows just what it covers.

So as we look across the table and around the room and though the office door, might we see the image of God in the faces most familiar. Might we know them in a way that lets us see Him more clearly. Might we hear the words they whisper more loudly than we hear the world's shouts. Might the feet that walk the closest to ours be the ones we kneel to rinse when the dirt of the day is caked between their toes. Might their sins be the ones we are first to forgive. Might their tears be the ones we are first to join. Might their joys be the ones we are first to celebrate. Might their victories stir our faith.

Might their Father remind us He is our Father.

And where familiarity has blinded us to Him, too, might we see again the One who's nearer than any brother will ever be. Might we see when it is our feet He stoops to wash. Might we hear Him when He bends to whisper into our ears. Might we know His presence when we do not know His ways.

Might we know Him right here where we have missed Him. Might the daily no longer be mundane.

Might the familiar be filled again with the freshest faith and the dearest love.