May mga bagay na hindi totoo pero nagmumukhang tunay dahil nakakasanayan natin. Parang pamasahe sa jeep. Dahil madalas na hindi na tayo nasusuklian, inaakala na nating 8.00 at hindi 7.50 ang tunay na pamasahe. Ganyan din sa ang buhay. This is the lie of familiarity.
Gayundin, may mga taong madali talagang mabiktima ng mga jeepney “barkers” na sumisigaw ng “kasya pa tatlo, kasya pa tatlo!” Susundan pa yan ng “araw-araw ginagamit, kasya pa tatlo!” It is an obvious lie, evidenced by the facial expressions and smirk of passengers inside. Yet gullible people enter the trap and soon realize that they have entered a place of momentary humiliation.
Not just a few times I’ve been in this kind of humiliation – and the most awkward of situation happens! Here’s the scenario:
Papasok ka sa jeep… walang gustong umurong dahil wala na ngang space. Pero mamimilit ang driver at papasingitin ka sa pagitan ng pinakapayat at pinakamabait tignan na pasahero. Sisingit ka at uupo sa imaginary seat na ibinigay ng isipan mo. Swerte ka na kung may kalahating pwet ka pang nakaupo, pero kadalasan nakaupo ka sa hangin at ang tanging kakampi mo lang ay ang hawakan na minsan ay umuuga pa. Ang isang paa mo naman ay itutukod mo sa upuan ng katapat mong pasahero, sa pagitan ng kanyang mga binti. Malas mo lang kung babae ang nandun and we’ll talk about awkwardness. Dadagdag pa ang tingin sayo ng kapwa pasahero na hindi mawari kung natatawa sila o naaawa sa sitwasyon mo. Sa huli, kukumbinsihin mo na lang ang sarili na sandaling suffering lang ito, at magdadasal na may bumaba agad na pasahero at nang makalaya ka na sa paghihirap mo.
When I was in college, this is my occasional experience. Lalo na kapag rush hour, talo-talo na. I have been used to this situation kaya ok na lang. I know I have a choice to choose another jeepney or FX pero ok na lang. I know I can either wait for the rush hour to pass, or to make it earlier pero dahil nasanay na ako sa oras ng gising ko, ok na lang. Familiarity has taken its hold on me kaya ok na lang.
Familiarity turns a situation into comfort zones (though ironically, di comfortable ang illustration ko. Haha!) Familiarity sends us a message that this is the way it has been, and this should always be. To deviate from what is familiar, to break from our mold is both terrifying and humiliating.
Mas ok na lang na mahirapan, magpapanggap akong nakaupo sa hangin magsabi sa driver na “bababa na lang po ako!”
Peter the disciple has been familiar with his environment. He is a fisherman by profession; his adult life before he met Jesus has been committed to catching fish. He knows the time to catch fish, the spot to catch fish, and all knowledge necessary for his trade. He is very much familiar with fishing until it has become his comfort zone.
However, fishing is not a sure-hit trade. Sometimes there’s plenty, sometimes there’s none. And one particular day, after toiling for nothing the night before, Jesus came and instructed Peter, “cast down your nets once more!”
Maybe Peter’s colleagues took Jesus’ words as a joke, or maybe an insult. They might have said to one another, “Who is this Jesus who tells us what to do? Isn’t he a carpenter, and a carpenter’s son? What business does he have with us fishermen?” Peter’s reply most probably meant, “we have already spent the whole night at the sea, with the best of our abilities, and still we ended up with nothing!” In fact, they have already retired for the day! They are already cleaning their nets, ready to go home and call it a day! But Peter, wanting to break mold from the familiarity of his situation, took a step of faith. “Nevertheless at Your word, I will let down the net” *Luke 5:1-11.
- The lie of familiarity tells us that what has been will always be.
- The lie of familiarity tells us that your situation is hopeless.
- The lie of familiarity tells us that you can never be free from what binds you.
- The lie of familiarity tells us that what you’ve dreamt of for your life is impossible.
- The lie of familiarity tells us that you are a just a product of your environment
- The lie of familiarity tickles you with comfort, and it tells you that you can go on in life with just that.
When Peter let down his net, hindi lang siya basta nakahuli ng isda, kinailangan pa niyang magpatulong sa mga kasamahan niya, to the point that their nets are breaking and their boats came sinking!
Who doesn’t want a catch like that? Who doesn’t want to break free from the familiar life and pursue the life you’ve always dreamt of, a life that is fulfilling and satisfying, free from the shackles of familiarity?
And at the end of it all, our response will be plain worship, like Peter, who gave up his familiar life of being a fisherman to become a fisher of men.
The lie of familiarity is a familiar lie. Parang pagsakay natin sa jeep. Bumaba ng jeep kung nahihirapan, hingin ang sukli kung kinakailangan, and don’t let the lie of familiarity define you.