I grew up in Buffalo, NY 27 miles from Niagara Falls, one of the wonders of the US if not the world. Yet, despite the closeness the only time my family went to Niagara Falls was when we had out of town visitors. The proximity made it seem familiar, normal, usual… and that meant it was not special for us. Having moved away from Buffalo most any time we are back in the area we visit this natural wonder.
I got thinking about this yesterday when visiting in Colorado and went up Pikes Peak and to the Garden of the Gods. I stood in awe at the beauty surrounding me and saw a number of people, most likely from the area, who seemed totally oblivious to it. As oblivious as I had been to Niagara Falls.
So if taking for granted that which is around you is, as I suspect, a human condition then we must begin to ask what are the good gifts which surround us in the community, in the church and in our families that we just accept as “normal” without realizing that they are special gifts that we enjoy?
Many years ago I was an assistant in a parish who had a self-appointed greeter. Bob told me that when he first attended the parish with his wife (who was an Episcopalian) nobody greeted them, invited them to functions or even the coffee hour. They stayed in spite of it and he vowed that no one would ever be ignored as badly as they had been while he was first there Bob was responsible for at least 10 people joining the church in the two years I was there. Everybody in the church knew Bob. But no one thought much about or valued him or his ministry of hospitality until they moved.
So what is your “normal” that is unseen or underappreciated? Believe me it is there. When you do see it and identify it you discover something that is of value and worth – you will have found a treasure you forgot that you had, and are richer for rediscovering it.
(This post is dedicated to Nancy expressing my gratitude for and hoping that I have never taken the many extraordinary gifts that she has brought into my life for granted.)