It is the phrase that brings amazement to parents and sometimes terror to the kids that say it. “I’m bored.” Parents are amazed that anyone could ever claim to be bored, while the kids who claim it are shocked to realize that when they admit to boredom they suddenly find the remedy in house work. In my mind, though, boredom is just the lazy way to go about life.
I mentioned kids here, but adults are guilty of this also. This is especially evident when it comes to the seemingly mundane areas of life. When life becomes just a routine, then it is easy to slip into this mindset that makes you feel just bored with it all. We cannot waste life that way, it is far too short. I believe that in order to stay away from that mindset we need to open our eyes and make the best out of the circumstances we are in. This last weekend on our retreat I collected three of the small New Testament Bibles that people left behind because I knew that my sons would love them. These were given out to everyone, but many people just left them on the floor. I guess they just saw another Bible. I saw them and knew that my sons would really appreciate one, so I brought them each one home. It is all about paying attention to what is going on around us and how we might bless someone at that time.
For example, what can be more mundane than going to the grocery store? I go there every week and get a lot of the same things, see the same people, smell the same mix of food odors and hear the same annoying music. (Clay Aiken– really!?) But, grocery shopping is not just grocery shopping, it is an opportunity to interact with people. It is an opportunity to bless and to be blessed in return. There are the obvious opportunities, like when there was a man in a motorized chair who I helped as he tried to reach the top shelf without success. There are other times when people will stop and talk to one of my kids, or just pause to interact with us for a few minutes. As I check out there is often the same lady working in that area. She will usually come over and say something to my children and share something with us. One day it was money-saving tips that she had for me and another time she gave me a recipe for some dish that her kids like and yet another time she gave a tissue to my son who had a runny nose. Waiting in line is not just wasted time, but it is time to show some kindness by keeping our eyes open to ways that we might be able to bless someone.
If the time in the store isn’t enough, we then get back in the car and the “hey dad” comments start to come. Just this last week, my 4-year old randomly said on the way back from the store, “Hey dad, some people don’t believe in God. They believe in rocks.” He continued, ” They do sin like break Lego sets, take down trees, take down walls, take down leaves, take down houses, punch people in the face.” I asked him why he thought people didn’t believe in God and he said, “I don’t know. Hey dad, I believe in God. I sometimes do sins.” I find it really interesting that my 4-year-old son has an understanding of sin and the connection to a belief in God. Here is an opportunity that I could never have just manufactured, but I might have missed if I was just bored with going to the store.
Do you feel like you are stuck in a rut? Maybe it is time for some perspective. This last weekend while in New Hampshire, I was right across the lake from a mountain. As I looked out over the water, all I saw was water and then the mountain. But, if I were to go and travel to the top of that mountain, I would see something completely different. I think the same is true for us. If we just wake up every morning and complain about the kids, our jobs, our lack of money, or the boring nature of our routine, we lose sight of the bigger picture. Getting the proper perspective keeps us where we need to be and our eyes on what really matters. Every day is a gift, an opportunity that is not to be wasted, but rather enjoyed for whatever it is.
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ” – Lamentations 3:22-23