I was raised smack dab in the middle of two of the largest of North America's Great Lakes, Lake Huron and Lake Superior. So I'm used to being in, around and on the water. I did a lot of swimming and boating as a child. These were activities that we all took for granted so there was very little supervision and safety precautions were non-existent. I almost drowned once. No-one really noticed. I almost drowned my nephew once. At the age of two he slipped off the bow of my tiny "sea-flee." No life jackets in sight. When we returned home no-one questioned why his diaper was wet.
I realized I have a rather large blind spot in regard to the dangers of being in, around and on the water when my husband and I were in a small aluminum boat off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The wind had come up and the waves grew as we headed across the mouth of a wide bay. The boat was tossed about as huge waves splashed over us. I was loving it. My husband was white-knuckled as he clung to the gunwale and prayed. It wasn't until we reached shore that the word lifejacket was mentioned.
We were recently on a small sailboat when a similar thing happened. The breeze became a wind that made the craft heel over nicely and I was delighted. My husband was worried about an eight-year-old sitting on the bow with his dad. Neither wore a lifejacket. When he commented later that it could have been disastrous if that boy had slipped off, I realized, oh yeah, I guess a lifejacket would have been wise.
It seems familiarity can breed blindness and even, yes I'll admit it, stupidity.
There is danger of this as we become more proficient writers. We publish and become comfortable in the waters of book publication and marketing. We take for granted all those working on our behalf to get our work out there. We stop learning the craft. We aren't so diligent about keeping pace with the latest developments in the industry. We neglect relationships with other writers. A lifejacket? Who needs that?
Many of us go through life this way, almost daring fate to do its worst. Unfortunately, 'fate' often does. Many of us go through our spiritual lives this way too. There are precautions we are told to take, habits and disciplines that act like lifejackets and lifeboats. Things like reading the Bible regularly, staying in fellowship with other Christians and praying often. It is wise to use them, wise to realize that familiarity can breed blindness and stupidity.
"Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess." Deut. 5:33
Do you have a lifejacket on? Or is it gathering dust somewhere?