They say that familiarity breeds contempt, but I would argue the opposite. For me, knowing and being fully known is downright holy.

Let it all hang out.

What you see is what you get.

Take me as you find me.

I would rather not have to wade through a bunch of BS before finding the authentic you. And Lord knows I have wasted enough time and effort over the years erecting barricades and tricky funhouse mirrors to hide the real me – even from myself.

But in recent years I’ve been working on getting to know myself better, and as I become familiar with the good, the bad, and the ugly, I am also learning to love myself.

For me, familiarity runs through everything that I love.

The Question

Today the WordPress Gods have posed the Daily Prompt question:

We each have many types of love relationships — parents, children, spouses, friends. And they’re not always with people; you may love an animal, or a place. Is there a single idea or definition that runs through all the varieties of “love”?

So that’s my answer to their question — familiarity.

Knowing God

My main love affair is with God. My Higher Power. Whatever you want to call the spirit that hovers around our heads and hearts causing love. Of course, any idea I might have of God is not actually God, and my inability to grasp the spiritual realm with my intellect pretty much guarantees that I can’t become truly “familiar” with God, no matter how much prayer or meditation I might engage in.

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I think we can, however, become familiar with God’s ways and with the evidence of God, beginning with the ground we walk on and the air we breathe and the water we drink.

In the book of Romans in the Bible, it says that “what may be known about God is plain” because God has made it plain: “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal  power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

I take this as a clue that learning about the natural world and spending time in it will help us get to know God. I know that many of my friends who do not believe in God still have a sense of the holy when they are out in nature. I personally believe that’s the Creator knocking.

What Has Been Made

What Has Been Made

The category of “what has been made” includes a lot of things I love…I see God in all of them.

Other Things I Love

I love my friends. Nothing beats getting together with my oldest, dearest friends – it’s like finding a favorite comfy sweater in the back of the closet and snuggling into it. We fit.

I love my family, even their annoying, familiar quirks. My brother and sister have known me since before I was born. How cool is that?

I love my church community. They are my chosen family. It’s where people encourage me to continue to grow into the real me. They know me, love me, and forgive me.

I love my cats. I love that I know everything they are going to do at every moment of the day. How they move to the sunny square on the hallway carpet after the warm spot I’ve left in the covers has cooled. How Mayasika rushes to block my path when I’m going upstairs so that I will scritch her back. How Eliza Bean comes into the kitchen at lunchtime and stands on her hind legs waiting for her cheese.

Mayasika

Mayasika

I love my town. The smell of popcorn in the town center when the theater opens each evening; the Coop grocery clerks who know my name and ask after my sick brother; the annual meetings that always go late into the night because people can’t get enough of talking about our little community.

I love my house, even though it’s usually trashed and causes me great stress and embarrassment. It is home. It is familiar.

Belonging

As I write, I’m realizing that I am talking about something beyond familiarity. Beyond knowing and being known.

I’m talking about belonging.

A sense of belonging is the thread that runs through everything and everyone that I love. This is what grounds me.

What about you? What binds together the things that you love?

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