BORING OR BRILLIANT? 03.09.2017

Do you ever feel fed up? Does the sameness of life get you down? Do you feel sometimes that you have nothing to look forward to? Does this feeling sometimes get worse and it’s like you are dragging yourself along? It’s more drudgery than dance, more enduring than enjoying. I do not mean clinical depression which obviously requires your doctors input. Indeed if you feel you may be depressed you should not neglect it and make that appointment. No I am not talking about being unwell. I am referring more to a listlessness or heaviness that can creep in. Sometimes it is as though trauma and trouble and life’s experience generally has gradually sucked the joy out of your life. Now this can all sound like a lead into an advertisement for a new wonder drug that will give you renewed pep in your step or the announcement of a new gym programme in your locality. Truthfully it’s neither. It’s not even a suggestion of a spa break, though that too might be a good idea. It is simply a gentle invitation to take a look at your life. I do not suggest this from a psychological standpoint nor even from a desire to enhance mental health, both of which would be very laudable ends in themselves, but rather from a soul perspective. It is good to ask what does our faith say to the mundane aspects of our lives? Does Jesus say anything about boredom?

I have never been a fan of Argos poster religion. I always felt it was overly simplistic and excessively sugary. I remember two of these quotes in particular. The first was a picture of a horse, a mare, in a field with her baby foal. She is nudging it and the caption says ‘Love is caring enough not to hold on too tightly’. The other, perhaps a bit more pertinent to today’s discussion, simply had an illustration of a boiling kettle and a cup and saucer beside it. The caption here read ‘Life is like a cup of tea, its how you make it’. What is your reaction to these? A bit naff? Too trite? Irritating? Not true? Or is there a residual truth in both? On the second of these, the idea of us ‘making our own life’, does not seem to allow for the tragedy and the run of bad experience that can come the way of individuals through pain, failure and loss. In this sense how one’s life unfolds is not simply down to us. That said perhaps there is some truth to the saying at least in how we respond to life’s events. The response we as individuals make to life’s events especially the challenges will have many components including genetic inheritance, our parents, culture and so much more. The key question for us is what bearing, if any, does our faith have in this response. Let us dispense with the notion of, if any, and just accept that it does of course have some impact. We know quite readily that our faith, perhaps to a larger degree than we would like, shapes how we interact with sickness, loss and of course death itself.

It is this notion of how our faith enables us to respond to the trials of life and specifically what Jesus has to say to these things that is of primary interest. We can easily cut to the chase when dealing with either Jesus or the Gospel on the major themes of life, such as love, war and peace. However what is fascinating is to discover that Jesus has something valuable to say about the day to day, about routine, about the mundane. I think we know some of this, or at least have heard it but we have in some sense ‘forgotten’ and need to be reminded of it and to gently remind each other. For a start do we understand that Jesus does not want us to be sick. Jesus does not want us to be worried. Jesus does not want us to be bound up. Actually it is much more pro-active than this Jesus wants us to be carefree, unbound, enjoying life to the full. For the foundation of all this we go to the lilies of the field, the instruction of Jesus ‘unbind him, let him go free’ and of course his beautiful exhortation that ‘he has come that we might have life and have it to the full!’ Clearly then Jesus is speaking to us in our day to day. The truth of the matter is that once we look at our lives in the way Jesus does, boredom is banished. It is through spending even a small amount of time with Jesus we begin to appreciate that life is precious. Life passes quickly. We have but one life. Whilst it’s true we do not control how it evolves we do get to decide quite a lot about it. We get to choose whether to say yes or no, to lie down or to at least try to stand. We can stay quiet, or shout, sing or even just whisper. In the name of Jesus let’s rage against the ordinary or at least make up our minds not to let it dominate us. After all, we are beautiful and brilliant.

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