4 In abundant life/ Daily Living/ Spiritual Growth

Delightful Monotony [and the key to the abundant life]

So it’s another Monday morning.

Another week stretches ahead of us. A week of all the normal things. The alarm will sound, I’ll groggily shuffle to the kitchen and pour myself a cup of steamy hot coffee, sipping it as I stand at my open front door, listening to a chorus of birdsong, watching the world come alive. I’ll wake my husband, scramble the eggs, pack the lunch.

This is the routine, day after day after day.

The dishes will need to be done, the counters wiped clean, the knotted hair combed through and mascara brushed on. We’ll get in our cars and drive to our work places, sitting at desks and pianos and computers. Standing at white boards, copiers, and registers. We’ll send out emails and sit in traffic and stop at the grocery. We’ll lace up running shoes or throw out yoga mats, we’ll change into sweats and sprawl out on the couch with a sigh of relief. The lights will be clicked off, we’ll crawl into bed. And then we’ll do it again tomorrow, for the thousandth time.

 

It’s called monotony. This doing the same thing, over and over again. Wake, eat, work, sleep, repeat. And though a routine is necessary it can be easy to resent.

I’m the wife of a teacher. My life is oriented around the school calendar. And to anyone revolving around the school year, you know the depletion and exhaustion and near apathy that comes along with the last few weeks of school. We’re all counting down the days, teachers, students, parents, teacher’s spouses. How long till we’re done and we get a break from this monotonous routine?

Because for some reason, we’ve come to believe that repetition indicates boredom, that routine means uninteresting, that monotony is anything but delightful.

But what if we began looking at routine in a different light?

What if, when our alarms went off tomorrow and we shuffled out of bed, we received the morning ritual with gratitude? What if we opened the door to the breaking dawn each morning and stood in awe of the sacred magic we were witnessing? What if, with every sip of our morning coffee, we savored the flavor, the steam rising in our faces, the way you can feel its warmth slide down into your belly?

What if we learned how to delight in monotony?

 

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” – G.K. Chesterton Orthodoxy

 

It takes strength, this delighting in monotony, this savoring of routine. It is easier to go through the days with our brains switched to auto-pilot. We’ve got a system, we’ve got a plan, and we can move from morning to evening like a well-oiled machine. We are efficient, yes. We are accomplishing and achieving and making good use of our time. But we are robotic. Unnoticing and unmoved by all the tiny miracles happening all around us. We are passing right by abundance.

We’ve fallen trap to the lie that the abundant life is somewhere out there.

We think we need adventure and excitement and newness to keep our life happy. That we have to try new things and travel to new places and meet new people if we are going to make the most of our life.

Meanwhile God, the creator of the universe, is marveling at the way the sun is rising – for the billionth time in a row. He’s standing over a field of daisies, completely captivated in each one of their intricate petals – no matter the countless other flowers he’s crafted. He’s listening to the birds singing, enjoying the way their chorus begins the day – like an overture at the start of a musical – morning after morning after morning.

While we’re off daydreaming about the next vacation or weekend get away, he’s laid out a bountiful feast right in front of our eyes. Hot coffee, freshly brewed, every single morning. Scrambled eggs and sizzling sausage and sweet fruit. Day after day we can partake in this feast. Warm sunshine and blue skies for us to run under, familiar eyes and friendly smiles greeting you every single day. And that old bed in the corner of your bedroom, indented and formed to cozy perfection for your nestled body, night after night.

We wonder why the abundant life seems so elusive and far off while God’s got a banquet table set before us for our delight.

It just looks so familiar we don’t even notice the feast.

I live in a little town nestled at the base one of Colorado’s most spectacular mountain ranges. Every day I wake up and go out my door and see these snowcapped peaks jutting out in front of me. One day my husband and I were admiring how glorious the rugged horizon was looking and the person we were with laughed. “They’re just rocky hills. We see them every day. Why are you so amazed by them?”

And though I was taken aback by this blatant disinterest in the beautiful world we live in, I know there are days I respond to it the same way. It’s just another morning, another work day, another normal week. It’s just more meals to plan and dishes to clean and people to care for and lessons to teach and floors to sweep and hours to trudge through.

It takes strength to delight in monotony.

It’s far easier to simply push through the day and get on to the next exciting thing or new adventure or weekend away. Fortitude is required to relish the same thing, day after day. You need discipline to savor the daily cup of coffee, the hot water and soap running down your face as you shower, the routine egg scrambling, the goodbye kisses every morning. But as you do, as you delight in the monotony, and you begin to see all this repeated beauty stretched out for you day after day, you will find abundance.

So it’s another Monday. The coffee’s brewing, the sun is rising. And tomorrow it will do it again.

What a exquisitely, delightfully monotonous world we live in.

 

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If you’re just dropping in for the first time I hope you’ll stay for a bit. Abundance has been on my heart lately, and the next few weeks, or maybe more, I’ll be circling around what practical abundance looks like in our actual right-now lives. Sign up below to receive future installments from this series

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Laura Steiner
    May 7, 2018 at 6:15 am

    Greer, your writing speaks straight to my soul. You always capture the stirrings in my heart and bring them to life through your words. Seriously. Cannot wait to read your book someday!

    • Reply
      Greer Oharah
      May 15, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      Laura, thank you. You are so very kind and encouraging. So much love to you!

  • Reply
    Marie Chavez
    May 7, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    I love this. Never read that Chesterton quote before, and it thrilled me. God must adore repetition because look how many people He made! Sometimes in a crowd I hunt for the same nose on different faces and often succeed. Now I know why. ❤️

    • Reply
      Greer Oharah
      May 15, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      I love that idea, Marie! Yes, isn’t this an amazing quote? I can’t stop thinking about it.

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