On Being Bored…

Often children whine, “Mom… I’m bored!” My mother’s response would always be, “Oh are you? I can give you something to keep you busy.” This of course meant a chore of some kind, so I learned not to ever say that to her, or to anyone else in a position of authority.

Then at school one day, maybe in 8th or 9th grade, some daring (and foolish) girl told our English teacher that she was bored with the class. We were reading Emily Dickinson.

Our teacher’s real name escapes me, but she was a tall, lanky Irish nun, and we all called her Stilts. “Tis’ bored you are?” she said, “Well, you are a very fortunate girl. When we’re bored, our minds are resting up because somehow they sense that they are going to need to start working very hard in just a few moments… Now, let’s see what Miss Dickinson has to say about boredom!”

I can remember that Stilts read many quotes by the esteemed Emily that day. One struck a chord with me:

“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”

 Another of my favorite Emily Dickenson lines is:

“To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”

 To me, these two insights are grand truths to live by. If your day to day world looks like the “same old… same old…”  get ready for the thunderbolt!


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