Saturday, August 3, 2013

When Life Seems Boring

There is one channel on the television set that I tend to watch more than others.  I watch detective stories there, which my analytical mind finds interesting.  The storyline always has a main character; that’s the one everyone questions and analyzes, and wonders:  What will he do next?  But, of course, we know what he will do and how the story will end; the bad guy goes to jail --- but still we watch in interest.
Sometimes, if the story gets too long or the pace seems too slow, I might turn the channel.  If you are honest, you’ll admit you often do too.  We are so easily bored these days.  Perhaps you might turn to a sex channel (I don’t even have access to them), or to a “reality” show about the neighbors --- who seem to live an inordinate amount of time in their bedrooms.  But if you’re honest, certainly this must be boring after a while also.  Just how many ways can your sexual parts touch or be touched?  And an orgasm is an orgasm is an orgasm.  You know you’re lying to yourself if you think each is so wonderful and unique --- and “so necessary.”  That’s the advertisement of the drug dealer on the corner --- and you know how much you can trust him.  No, this is a channel you turn off in boredom too, even faster than the first.  There’s a reason, even beyond medical, that the commercial warns you against having an erection for more than 4 hours.  It’d be boring, and they want you to continue to buy their product.
But there are lots of other channels we can turn to in our life.  There’s a shopping channel and a cooking channel, and even a nature channel on which we can watch animals --- as if there is something more valuable to be gained by watching them than by watching, say, a rock.  No, all of these quickly become boring also.  With a thousand channels now available for us to watch, why do we still so easily become bored?
The answer is in the very purpose of the television:  to focus us on what we want, or think we want.  Its purpose is no different than the Roman Coliseum was for the citizens of Rome:  to distract them from things of importance.  It’s like the magician who says “look at THIS hand,” as he takes away something with his other hand.  He means to distract us.
We were not given this precious thing, life, merely to be entertained, to be sexually aroused 24 hours a day.  All life, especially human life, is meant to DO something, something important.  Even the prettiest flowers are not meant to just sit and look pretty, they are meant to grow and thrive and spread new life to future flowers.  No flower is meant to just be looked at by others, much less to have a total self-focus.  Neither is human life.
Man is created out of love, and is meant to grow in a self-giving love.  He was not created to focus on himself, like watching some television channel, but on others.  We so easily forget this because of the effort required to act in a love focused on others, and the lack of feedback we so much desire.  Giving love is work, and like all work, we want to see results.  It requires much dedication and patience, but sometimes despite our best efforts, the results disappoint us. 
Building a house requires dedication and patience also, and sometimes the results there too may seem less than ideal.  We might have to re-do certain areas of our work, or perhaps seek outside help from “the experts” --- maybe even God.  But that’s just how all of our efforts at living (and at loving) work.  That is how we were made to work, with toil and trial and yes, with error.
We often look at our life and our efforts like we look at that television program.  I cared for my mother for years, and watched what was happening to her and those around her (myself included) kind of like watching that detective show:  I wondered what would happen next.  And as I watched the show, there were many unexpected twists and turns along the way.  But I knew how the story would end:  not with some bad guy going to jail, but with a good woman going to heaven.
There were times along the way that the show seemed to get a little long and maybe a little boring, but I guess I liked the lead character, and so I still watched.  I tried to stay focused and not turn the channel of my attention to something “more fun.”  I am well aware that there are others who might be watching a similar show in their lives, and perhaps they do turn the focus.  Care-giving, loving someone in need -- even a parent -- can be a very difficult thing.  And the other channels we might turn our focus to can seem so much more appealing and entertaining --- to us.  But that’s the whole point of this analogy about life:  it cannot be all about us.  We are wrong if we look at our life’s situation and cry: “Woe is me.”  If this is your cry, you are looking at your life like watching television, and you are wanting to change the channel.  You want more interesting or fun things --- for you.
If you consider your life and are compelled to say “woe is me,” you need is not to change the channel, but turn off the television, and stop considering some better entertainment for yourself. Focus on life as it is.
For some of us, there is a house to be cleaned, children to be loved, and a job to go to.  The channel of our life cannot be turned, and we should not be daydreaming about doing so.  Life is sometimes hard, and it is sometimes boring, but that IS life.  Life has a purpose, a meaning, and we are not meant to watch it, but to live it.  Not to seek love, but to seek to give love, to make a difference to even one other.  Even if we are not aware that we made that difference to someone else, God is.
When life is at its most difficult and we feel unloved, forgotten, or worthless, that is when life is worth its most.  And that is when we most need to focus our life, to aim at fulfilling its true purpose.  When we want to ask: “Does it matter if I live” is when we should take actions to ensure our life DOES matter.  Then is the time to stop focusing on ourselves and our woes, and seek and/or accept every opportunity that arises to give love, aid, and counsel to someone else.
When we most feel alone is the time to find someone lonelier.
My mother died and I have a great hole in my life.  Perhaps you have had some tragedy in your life, a great sadness you wish would end.  But now is not the end of your life.  Like a particular episode of a television show, something or someone you focused on – an episode in your life – may be over, but no matter how absorbed in it you were, you go on.  Our life is full of changes, of phases, of episodes, of tragedies, but our life goes on.  And it goes on with a purpose.
At the end of the detective show, the bad guy is meant to go to jail.  At the end of our life we are meant to go to heaven --- it’s a happy ending.  It’s the story Jesus wrote for us.  The detective works to get the bad guy in jail, not moaning all day: “why don’t I get a promotion?”  So why do we cry and moan at each bad turn along the way?  Even the detective occasionally gets punched out by the bad guy.  But if you can be content to watch that story, why can’t you be content to live yours?  At least your story is new --- and no one’s seen it before.  And, if you were honest with yourself, you’d find it kind of exciting:  “I wonder how God gets even this sad sap into heaven?”  And He will, if you let Him, and join in your life’s story, and not just watch it.
No life story is boring, especially our own.  If things are bad now, go out and buy some popcorn, the next scene will be better.  Have patience; have faith.  ACT with patience and faith.  Do not be anxious.
There is cause for rejoicing here.  You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials; but this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold, may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ appears.  Although you have never seen him, you love him, and without seeing you now believe in him, and rejoice with inexpressible joy touched with glory because you are achieving faith’s goal, your salvation.
-- 1 Peter 1:6-9


  1. " least your story is new". How true - no one has seen it before not even in my imagination. I sense you are preaching to yourself - trying too accept a new channel as life goes on in its changeable way, encouraging yourself to be patient as the new story evolves.

    I can only imagine that you are feeling at loose ends. Your post is a very good analogy. I hope you can get excited about joining in on the new channel.

    Did you get to the Franciscan conference in Ohio? How about writing that story as a post. Joy and peace to you, my friend.

  2. This post speaks to me. I am just past the season of homeschooling our children (maybe This program will be more exciting. Maybe we could add/delete This subject). And now am adjusting to a new phase in life. Perhaps This change will make life; better perhaps I should try That program to make things more interesting/organized/fun. I shall try to re-read this post often.

  3. Thank you, Maryellen and slimsdotter. I'm glad you found something of value here. I know some other people who write blogs or on Facebook like to make people laugh or agree with something they said, but I am pleased if it seems the words I wrote made even one someone think.

    Maryellen, you hit the right word: patience. It's hard to have patience --- although I have to be honest, right now I think I am feeling, I don't know, maybe lazy is the word. I can't seem to focus on things I know need to be done, and when I do focus it seems like my mind isn't working so well. Concentration seems hard; maybe that's why nothing seems to come to mind much to write here. Maybe it's mom dying, or the weather, or the bills, or the piles of paper I can't seem to get enthusiastic to organize, but life just seems "grey" right now. I think another miracle happened to me this morning at church, but even that somehow doesn't excite me.

    I trust that God will help me to move on with my life; I know there is so much for me to do --- not what I want, but what He wants. And I'll find that path, if I am patient.

    Thank you for your words, and thoughts. Together, we live on, doing His will as best we can.

  4. like everyone else i think life seems boring because technology greedy tum tum has speed up our lives in a very unnatural a result we have reached our destiny before time.we did not take our time.the truth is simple material gain is nothing to gain, that is why so much is available to you.try and hoard nothing and nothing will happen.try and hoard almighty god and you shall be filled beyond measure.boredom is the absence of god in your life, find him and you find live abundantly, bless you.

    1. Ah, Shadrach, I sense wisdom in your reply. Technology, I agree, can be our friend if used wisely, but I suspect more often than not it used only in a greedy manner, to get what we want from this earth. But we were not made for this earth, but for God. As you say, we will better relieve our boredom if we find God, than if we find things of this earth.

  5. glory to god...thank you for decent reply...this is shadrach...god loves clean hands and pure heart..a right scale and a just balance is his delight..if god ways dont excite and keep us calm then the devil philosophy will...flesh is not king and carnal beauty is vain and boring..only love can set us free...god is love..bless u kind heart..

  6. when god gives the increase into life realize there is nothing to be anxious about for real.. you see eternity is based upon a permanent level...all roads else can eternity be.. god almighty is not an entertainer so why be anxious for anything in life when you have eternity to consider... clean hands and pure heart is the golden city of god..if happiness is your destiny you have no rightful need to be anxious.. your happiness shall be eternally eternal..from shadrach..

  7. i am alone in the wilderness... who made me... know i am here. also why i am here .. the secret its not my will...the world today is upside down... nobody cares..