Familiarity breeds taking for granted

When you live with people day in and day out for years, you become so accustomed to them that you can stop seeing them.

I’m currently reading Vatican Waltz by Roland Merullo. When I first started reading his books, I was not a writer. I read for enjoyment, completely unaware of the effort, the heart and soul, and the wisdoms that are intricately woven into novels…no small task.

I’m certain Philemon Hensel must have told me about this in the twelfth grade—he was an eccentric man who always wore a suit. Even in the eighties, that was odd attire for a public high school teacher. If only I could have a conversation with him today! Looking back, I suspect he was brilliant, and I was not mature enough to notice.

Years ago I would have skipped right through the above sentence without giving it much conscious thought. Yesterday, Merullo’s truism had me ripping off a piece of the library’s printed receipt to mark the page.

Do you take notes on fiction books?

I do!

Anyhow, I often take things…or lack of things, for granted around the house. For example, we have a great room with an incredibly large wall. Painted with Interactive Cream, and anchored with a rust colored couch, the monstrosity is bereft of decoration. Twenty years ago, the emptiness bothered me. I felt the wall required…something.

I once hung a trio of enlarged nature photos, but they were dwarfed and looked…wrong. After taking them down, I patched the nail holes and chose to stop thinking about the void. Somehow I understood that whether the wall had artwork, or not, eventually I’d stop noticing it either way. And it’s true…I haven’t given any cognitive energy to that wall in years. How nice that it’s given me a story to tell…

People…we take them for granted, too. We ask the same questions, expect the same reactions, and never doubt that they’ll show up when they’re supposed to.

Even thought the thoughtless question, What’s for dinner? can sometimes pull swear words from my depths (fellow mothers hear me on this, right?), I’ll be missing this inquiry I’ve come to take for granted when it’s no longer asked in a couple of months. I’m well aware of the looming college departure - big changes demand awareness.

All this to say, today’s a great opportunity to take new notice of the familiar and important in your life.

I’ll try to do the same.