Boredom

It came as a surprise to learn that the words ‘bore’ and ‘boredom’ with their present meaning are of eighteenth century origin. Until then, apparently, no one suffered from ennui. They were weary or tired of life, disconsolate, found things flat, stale or unprofitable; but they were not bored. They had no time for boredom, being both too busy and too unused to regarding their own moods. Boredom comes in with leisure, wealth and the cultivation of sensibility. It is an affectation of the rich and pampered.

I think we must all be rich and pampered nowadays, for we are frequently bored. We are bored by wet Bank Holiday Mondays when anything that seems worthwhile is prevented by the weather. We are bored by what we see or read, by what we eat or drink, by the very people by whom we are surrounded. It is all boring, boring, boring.

Only, it isn’t. The trickle of rain down the window-pane is jewel-like in the way it reflects colour and light. That soft grey sky is a thousand different shades, and the way the wind soughs and sighs through the branches is like a violin playing a strange and beautiful sonata. Even the gleam of wet asphalt has its own unique loveliness.

Today you may be feeling a little disappointed, even a trifle cheated. We had hoped for sunshine and a dreamy summer’s day. Instead we’ve got cold and wet, a day more suitable for soups than salads. We know we cannot change the weather but, like anything else, we can change the way we view it. Boredom is one of those luxuries we can do without. The smell of wet dog here in the monastery reminds me that every day is potentially a good day, a day for exploring and discovering new things. Bro Duncan PBGV can preach a fine sermon just by being himself and taking things as they are. So can we.

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