Don’t Panic! It’s Only Boredom!

I came across a quote a while back that struck me as particularly fascinating and very true. It was simple and straightforward, but wise and elegant. And it has not left me since. The quote was:

“Boredom is the most misunderstood luxury.”

At first, this statement seems ridiculous. How could boredom ever be considered a luxury? We all do our best to escape boredom. It seems to be a hand of oppression whenever it surfaces. There is rarely a day that goes by in which I don’t hear someone bemoaning their current predicament of being in a state of absolute boredom.

So why would anyone consider boredom a luxury?

Because, simply put, it is.

Boredom is nothing more than a state in which chaos has been calmed, whirlwinds of activity have settled, tensions have eased, work is completed and rest can be had. It is a state in which there is nothing to do because everything that needs to be done has been done.

When I think of all the people who never have the time to rest, all the single mothers, all the people working two and three jobs, all the people constantly looking for a job, all the people consumed with stress and anxiety, who seem to be more common now than ever, I can’t help but think these people would give just about anything for a day filled with nothing to do. A day filled with the luxury of boredom.

I used to be a person who often complained of boredom. If I didn’t have a constant flurry of activity surrounding me, I wasn’t happy. Then all that activity started to take its toll on me and the result was complete exhaustion and burnout. Ever since, I’ve come to realize what a blessing the times of silence in the midst of chaos truly are. I am not a man of means, but I have still been very blessed to have what I do, even though I have no idea what I did to deserve it.

I am blessed with the gift of boredom, the restful times between activities in which I can recharge for the next go-round. I am currently recharging with a cup of coffee from my monkey-face shaped mug, given to me by my wife last Valentine’s Day. I am relishing this moment of pause before the next movement begins.

Boredom is a luxury, but more than that, it is a necessity. Music doesn’t exist only as notes, but as the flow of notes and rests. Without the rests, there is only cacophony, chaos. In the Psalms, the word “Selah” is used to indicate a pause, an interlude, a time of reflection, of introspection. These times should not be castigated as being counterproductive, but praised for how necessary they really are.

“Boredom is the most misunderstood luxury.”

Maybe we can all try to understand it a little better.


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