Thank you, God, for my current boring life.
I was talking recently with a woman in I know who is raising her grandchild, a kid who is friends with mine. Addiction and mental illness swirl around the kid’s parents. The grandma spoke with regret about how much drama this kid has had to live with in a short life. I said her grandkid was welcome to come over and hang out with us pretty much any time. “We’re totally boring,” I said, with great enthusiasm.
I am really quite proud of the boring. So much so, I want to share the boring whenever possible.
Boring is a relatively recent development in my life. For most of my twenties, I suffered from depression and anxiety, and our marriage was a rollercoaster of drama. Plus, my whole personality type pretty much craves drama like a fish craves water. It’s my natural environment.
I’m sure it wasn’t the most peaceful environment for my own oldest kid. I’ve been watching him rapidly transform into a teenager for the last six months or so, a process that will be official in a couple of weeks on his thirteenth birthday. He’s taller than I am now. (Not a major accomplishment, as I’m only 5′ 4″ or so, but still.)
His voice changed literally overnight–he woke up one day a baritone. It took me a week to realize he didn’t have a head cold. (I’m not sure if that’s denial at work, or the fact that I’m self-absorbed and thus a little slow on the uptake as it relates to things that are happening with other people.)
But back to my main point, families that can’t quite get their stuff together are near and dear to my heart. That was us for a really long time.
Loving on my neighbor is something I’m struggling to get better at, now that I don’t have the excuse of my life being a major disaster getting in the way. Hospitality, in the sense of being a good cook or housekeeper, is not one of my major gifts (somewhere, people who have seen my house are snorting with agreement on this).
Neither is administration (we still require occasional nastygrams from the cafeteria ladies reminding us to send lunch money for the Mini Sith Princess.) But I will totally hang out and play video games and watch chick flicks with a kid who just needs a little down time from the drama. I can do that. That is totally within my scope of capability.
As much as I recognize that my currently boring life is a blessing, I also realize it’s a blessing I can share.
An ugly little habit you see in the evangelical subculture is the tendency for parents to cloister their families away from anyone who might infect their lives with drama. Moms are often unwilling to let their kids spend time with kids whose home life doesn’t meet their standards. I get not wanting to send your little muffin into a potential crack house, but stuff like that leads to things like the couple in Texas that fakes Christianity so their kids can have a social life.
Frankly, if’ I’d been more transparent about what was really going on in my life and marriage, I’m not sure we would have made the cut with some of our friends in previous times.
As an introvert, things like just having a conversation with my neighbor take me out of my comfort zone. When I say the previous drama in my life was an excuse for not loving on my neighbor, I mean that. It was an excuse. Not a legitimate reason. The tiny, beautiful rural county I live in has more meth labs per capita than any other in Indiana. No matter how messed up we were, there are people in my neighborhood who are in worse shape.
People (mostly teenagers) complain that our small town is boring. If you ask me, it’s not nearly boring enough. There are too many sirens in a town of ~600 people. I’ve heard from my high school friend (a police officer) how often those sirens announce a home disrupted by drugs and domestic violence.
Chris asked me last week what I’m excited about. He’s got some really cool stuff going on in his life right now, and he’s in that giddy “telling everyone he knows about it” stage.
Right now, I want to spread the boring. I want my neighborhood to be the most awesomely boring spot on earth. That’s what’s exciting me.
What about you?