Do you ever think about how some of the things you have grown up hearing about or being associated with would strike you very differently if they were foreign entities? In the cases of some things, you would think them strange; while in others, you would be so aware of their “differentness” that you would pick out certain points about them that you would never have noticed had they always been part of the backdrop to your life.
Take the names of some things. We’ll start with the city of Pittsburgh. On a trip I took through several states in the Eastern United States, I noticed this Pennsylvania destination in a new way. On the green message boards that hang over the highways, I read the name as if it was the first time I had heard of the place–which wasn’t so hard, since I’ve never been there. I took note of the parts of the word, pondering what bearing they might have on it’s geographical and political identity.
Should you be interested, what I came up with is that Pitts-Burgh is a hapless hamlet where the people grovel in mighty large ravines. I imagine–if I pretend that I do not already know the facts about these things–that the Grand Canyon is located there. It stands out as the greatest fault of all its neighboring depressions. Oh, what a time they must have there!
I find it interesting that I haven’t noticed anyone naming Pitts-Burgh the Depression and Suicide capital of the world. But then, maybe it is a rather barren place, considering that its citizens could give their address in shorthand as “Yeah, I’ve been living in the “pits”.
Keeping in the same geographical area, suppose we consider two names for national sports teams that seem to have no meaning when you really think about them. (I don’t know, maybe the names of sports teams aren’t supposed to have real meaning.)
Phillies. Please, I’m really curious, where did the team creators come up with this one? Okay, maybe the Philadelphia Phillies does make a little sense–qualifying as a show of city pride. But what about the Philadelphia Flyers? What do they have going on? They fly? Then what are they if they fly? I thought flight was an action connected to some kind of subject–but this hockey team appears to be disembodied. Which may explain a few things related to their fans disappointment in recent years…
I don’t know if you’ve considered this as you’ve been reading, but the exercise of looking at familiar things as though they were very new things can be very helpful in acquainting us with God. When we do this, we train our eyes to be able to recognize the true meaning of things that we never probed deep enough to truly understand. We look for what God meant for us to understand all the time. We ask for Him to impart more spiritual insight than we can get from any other source.
True, the goal in this instance is not to uncover humor, but something even more relevant to our lives–the Truth that will help us build relationships with God that are more than wishful thinking, more than good intention. Putting our perceptions before God and being willing to receive His in their place is a commitment of ourselves to learning God as He defines Himself and identifying ourselves with that definition. In doing so, we receive the benefit of spiritual growth; but even more, a heart that knows the expanding blessing of being united to God.