The Familiar Is Too Crowded
I did not realize how crowded the familiar was until I went back for a visit. This epiphany took place in one of my more recent dreams. As I went back to that place and asked my familiar host if I could stay, she warmly replied “you are more than welcome, but do you really want to?”
My host’s name was Sonia, a name which means wisdom. True wisdom, a gift from above, always shows us the best option; however, this trusted guide will leave the decision up to us—for better, best, or worse. We must discern whether to indulge the familiar in us, which always longs for the familiar in our lives (past, present, and future), or to give voice to the silent minority—the unfamiliar in us, longing to be set free and frolic in the unknown.
While the familiar often extends a warm and welcoming smile, offering a sense of belonging and security, it is not always the best place to be. Having acclimated myself to the landscape of the unfamiliar, the thought of moving back to the familiar now seems to constrict my moving and being. Where before, I may have not noticed or cared about the subtle or not so subtle effects that these occupiers of the familiar had on my mental, spiritual, and emotional mobility, I found I could not go back.
Webster defines ‘familiar’ as “one who frequents a place” (Webster.com). The 14th century Latin origin of this word, refers to its meaning as “the slaves” (etymonline.com). Think about the profundity of these dimensions: many times, the familiar enslaves us to frequent places, whether those be mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical. We can be so crowded out by like-mindedness, that our potential to be more of who we were called to be and what we were called to do gets stifled and restricted, being starved for creative oxygen and exercise of forward-momentum.
This being said, I am not advocating throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. There are familiar places and people that are good for us and us for them, providing wonderful, healthy, nurturing, and mutually beneficial experiences, affirmation, consolation, and opportunities for growth. Nevertheless, the great psalmist King David (whom God referred to as a man after His own heart, Acts 13:22) amplified our existence and purpose as he decreed and agreed with our Creator that “we are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).
The Hebrew words for fearfully and wonderfully mean “to cause astonishment, to strike with sudden and usually great wonder or surprise, to distinguish, show marvelous” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).
For me, while looking back on my dream and my journey, the familiar is indeed crowded. Crowds comprise of a group of people having something in common. That commonality can be either good or bad, right, wrong, or neither, or helpful, hindering, or maintain the status quo. Regardless, whether you choose to fit into a crowd or not, whether a crowd fits into you or not, give place and purpose to the unfamiliar—for in that abode, you are given the space and opportunity for your wonderfully unique and marvelous you to venture out, grow, and to be extraordinary.
(Photo Credit: pzaxe on Shutterstock)