The Back Page – Same Same, But Different

The Back Page

Same Same, But Different

In Cambodia and Thailand you see shirts sporting that slogan. Life can—maybe should—be enjoyed
from this perspective.
Every time I stroll Ocean City’s beach from 59th St. south to the inlet, the real estate remains the
same, but the ocean always varies. Today’s strong southwest wind suggests before I arrive that the surf
might be down. But not so. Instead, the wind shears the top off each wave as it crests in from the east and
shoots a shower of salty spray seaward, sunshine slashing through. Beautiful. Wish I had brought my
If we let them, seasons and celebrations also can be for us same same, but different. Each autumn,
tree leaves blaze, then drift down, but never identically so. Do we notice? Thanksgiving and Christmas
arrive as scheduled. We sing the traditional songs, but can we somehow engineer freshness into this
year’s iteration of turkey, “We Gather Together,” Mary, Joseph, and angels? Why let the beauty and
meaning of the familiar grow stale? Sure, every year these things are same same, but if we reflect and
tweak, each iteration can be for us new and different.
“What? Church again? We just went last week!” “Celebrating communion already? Didn’t we just
do that?” Same same. But if we let ourselves enter fully into what we are doing, each time can be
different. What we regularly repeat lends structure to our lives; the variety we incorporate infuses spice.
True also for our Bible study. How many times have you read Ephesians, or Genesis, or the Psalms?
Getting tired of the same old stuff? Try reading in a different way. Pick up a new translation. Read aloud
rather than silently, or with a partner rather than alone. Try morning instead of evening, or vice versa.
Pick up a notebook and write as you read. The content will remain same same— because God’s word
never changes. But if, as it claims, the Bible is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, then
each reading can be new and different. Fresh, relevant, comforting, life-changing.
Regularity and variety. The pillar and spice of life. Same same, but different.

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