I regularly read Tor Constantino’s blog, The Daily ReTORt, and the other day, he wrote about the difference between boredom and monotony. This is a very important distinction to make.
Boredom is an emotional response to a lack of engagement. Monotony is simply repetition. On it’s own, monotony is neither positive nor negative. It just is. We decide if it is going to be good or bad.
What do kids do when they find an activity they really like? The want to do it over and over and over (…and over…). Monotonous? Yes. Boring? Not to them! The fact that you may find little or no enjoyment in participating on this activity, while the child does proves that boredom is in the eye of the beholder.
Maybe the problem is us. Maybe we have grown up too much to relish in the opportunity to “do it again!”
Think, for a moment, about the things in your life that you don’t get tired of. Sunny days, coffee in the morning, grass under foot, hugs from your family. All of these can be monotonous. The lesson? Monotony can be refreshing.
Tor quoted this from C.K. Chesterton’s book “Orthodoxy”. I think it captures the sentiment perfectly.
For instance in children… when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy, they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again,’ and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon.
It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; if may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never gotten tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite for infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.
The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence, it may be a theatrical encore.
There’s a danger in avoiding monotony. Repeating what brings joy to your life can only bring more joy. What makes you say “do it again?”