They are everywhere. Perfect images. The happy family on the cover of a magazine. The perfect body as we stand in the grocery isle. A greeting card showing us the perfect marriage. The perfect ‘image’ to sell us the ideal of ‘happy’.
I love to capture family photos and share them. I started doing this on facebook because with out-of-town family it was the easiest way to keep everyone up to date. We captured those ‘happy’ moments. Even if they were not happy, the command was clear “everyone smile for Mimi and Papa”. What these pictures do not capture is the mayhem.
The truck key that was flushed down the toilet. The broken bed. The lost jewelry. The smoothie explosion in the new car. The mommy that looks like a wicked witch because she screams so hard her veins pop out of the side of her neck. Hair flicks, eye rolls, hits, screams, whines, middle of the night wake up calls, throw up, hospital stays, medical emergencies, and full blown outbursts; all of which go largely undocumented!
What those images also fail to reveal is the absolute boredom we all experience. Those mundane moments that pepper the background of life. Fold the laundry. Feed the dog. Wash the dishes. Clean up the mess. Make the beds. Brush our teeth. Sit in calm space. Read a book. Check the mail. Pay the bills. Negotiate another dispute. They have no ‘happy’ picture of all this. This is what fills the other 23 hours and 50 seconds of every day when we are not readying for a photo op!
Boredom has something to offer if we lean into it. I believe one of boredom’s secrets, is that it threads together meaning into the background of everything else we do. It’s in those ‘in between’ moments where many great things happen. When things are calm enough to express a heart felt ‘I love you’. When someone crawls into my lap for snuggles. When I hear the children discuss their concept of God and aliens and who passed wind the loudest; all in the same sentence. Self revelations, ‘aha’ moments, inspiration and creative solutions often present in these moments of boredom.
“I think it’s important to find the little things in everyday life that make you happy.” – Paula Cole.
When we dart from here to there and only look for those ‘image perfect moments’ of what happiness may look like, we miss all the really juicy bits that boredom has to offer. We get so ‘busy’ looking for ‘it’ that we miss ‘now’ and the gifts of the present. Those big moments in life are quite rare for most of us. It’s all the small moments, thread together, that reveals boredom’s secret! Boredom creates a background which we can experience the deeper meaning of life. The details that go unnoticed in rapid motion. The little things that have meaning and give our life a sense of directional pull. We are more approachable because we allow ourselves to be available.
“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden
Thought for today: Allow me to enjoy those little moments. To relax into what may seem like boredom but really allows an opening, an invitation for someone to have space in my life. It helps me be approachable when I look ‘available’. It helps me notice all those little details. It may be the power charge I need or it may be the quiet space that allows for an ‘aha’ moment. Let all of boredom’s gifts unfold in those quiet moments around me.