On Boredom (Or, What I Did on My Summer Vacation)

a summer list

Our Summer List is nearly illegible.  Most of the items are crossed through.  I might have drawn a neat pencil line through each activity (trying to check it off but not erase it).  My young daughter, who has not yet learned to grasp desperately at passing time, obliterated most of the list with a thick, black marker.

On the record, I’d say that our list helped shape an enjoyable summer.  Though, the perfectionist zeal of my first-born did lead to a difficult argument on one of the final days of summer vacation.  No, I had to tell her, we cannot visit the carousel, go on a picnic, keep a writing journal, and make playdough all in a single day just because they are still on the list.  The compromise was a half-hour drive to the carousel.  And a few more memories for our piggy banks.

The Summer List did not completely silence the eternal summer cries of “Mom, I’m bored!”  Nor should it have. 

I tend to think that boredom is good for children, like green beans and sharing a bedroom.  I tell them as much, though they remain unconvinced.

I thought I believed my own preaching, but I began to doubt that over the summer.  I too have been bored.  Very bored.  I discovered that, for me at least, green beans and sharing a bedroom are much, much better than being bored.

Of course, boredom is a privilege.  If I had to walk miles in fear to collect water for my family, I would not be bored.

I wonder, is boredom merely a lesser evil, or might it have some good to offer?

I know that I don’t like it, I know that I don’t want it, and yet I write out here a few of the gifts boredom has recently given me:

To be bored is to be unhurried.

When my toddler throws a screaming fit, I let him scream.  But, I also sit down close by because nothing else is screaming for my attention.  When he’s ready to climb into my lap, I’m right there.

To be bored is to be waiting.

I have been thinking (and, let’s face it, hoping) that boredom might be one of the final stages of resting.  When we first rest from work, we are content to simply be.  After a while, our minds, our hearts, our bodies are ready, once again, to do.

To be bored is to be listening.

God is always talking.  Sometimes He has a lot to say, and He says it in some big way, but, more often, He is whispering.  When I am bored out of my mind, my ears are searching for any sound from Him, so eager am I to hear the extraordinary break into my ordinary.

Greetings from the Land of Waterfalls, Glitter, and Unicorns


(photo by yours truly)

Okay, maybe not that last one.  But, really, it wouldn’t at all surprise me to see a unicorn drinking from one of these dappled mountain streams. 

We’re enjoying a family vacation this week.  The air is blessedly cool.  The pools and streams are icy, and when my children come out after swimming they look as if they’ve been dipped in gold glitter.  My husband, who will always carry with him the rock-collecting Boy Scout he once was, could tell you why.  Mica?  Quartz?  I don’t know, but it’s lovely.

I’ll be back in this space next week.  I’m just popping in briefly tonight to say thank you.  I’ve enjoyed one full week in my beautiful new online home, and I am feeling very grateful for the super-smart design wizards who have made this possible.  Thank you, Adam, and everyone else at McLane Creative.  Tech-y, computer stuff seems like rocket science to me and just thinking about it makes me bite my nails, but you made this process entirely painless . . . actually, better than that: it was enjoyable!

If anyone reading this needs help with web design and development, someone to help you take that “next step” online, may I recommend my new friends at McLane Creative?  They are the web design equivalent of a mountain vacation (waterfalls, glitter, and unicorns included).


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