Earlier in the year, when I seemed to getting on a plane every week and I was dealing with some mysterious health symptoms, I remember thinking to myself: “If I could be at home, in my usual routine, doing all my ordinary work, going to the same grocery store, running the same running route, dealing with the same squabbles, tucking in the same six kids, sleeping in the same bed with my same wife, and doing this feeling relatively fine, I’d thank God each and every day for my wonderfully boring life.”
Of course, those sort of vows disappear all too quickly. I know I’ve had some normal, boring days since then and didn’t stop to thank God for the blessing of the same-old, same-old.
But I do so more than I used to.
Talk to the parents whose house was flooded or whose kids won’t sleep through the night. Talk to the friend who has been sitting by the bedside of a loved one in the hospital for days or weeks. Talk to the baby-boomer who has made special trips to take care of an aging parent. Talk to the family whose kitchen remodel is dragging on another month. Talk to the young women who keeps going from doctor to doctor looking for a definitive diagnosis that hasn’t come. Talk to the dad who has been on the road more days than he can remember. Talk to the mom who can’t shake her anxiety or her headaches. Talk to anyone who feels like the chaos of life is spinning and spinning, without any routine or regularity in sight. Most of us don’t learn how precious normal is until it’s gone.
If your life feels ho-hum and humdrum, if you struggle to find contentment in the ordinary and mundane, if you are tempted to break free from the predictable routine of life with stupidity or sinfulness, consider for a moment that your boring life is the envy of almost every person sitting right now in a hospital bed or a refugee camp. Consider how many friends and family members would gladly trade in all their frenzied commotion and uncertain schedules for a single day of your plain-jane normalcy. The only people bored with boring are those who have never had to live without it.
To be sure, in one sense there is no normal. All of us suffer. All of us face interruptions, delays, disappointments, and unwanted surprises. Almost everyone with kids is living on the far side of crazy. And yet, there is a difference between crazy busy and catastrophe. If this week is a lot like last week, which is itself likely to be a lot like next week, enjoy the sanity that comes with sameness. Do not despise the days of small things, for they add up to more than you know (Zech. 4:10).
Thank God for your normal, boring life.
And have mercy on those around you who wish they had their boring back.