When Boring Is a Blessing
Life’s getting back to normal, which might mean drudgery and boredom again. But perhaps that’s something to be thankful for these days.
By Leslie Koh
Watching the morning crowd pour into the MRT, I couldn’t help feeling a little frustrated. Monday mornings were bad enough, and now, I also had to contend with the peak-hour jam for the entire ride to office.
Then, I heard an MRT staff yell out something that I hadn’t heard since early 2020, before Covid-19 struck us: “Ladies and gentlemen, please move into the train! Thank you!”
On hearing that announcement, I couldn’t help but smile. Ah, life’s getting back to normal.
And indeed it has. Of late, we’ve had some good news in Singapore about most Covid-19 restrictions being lifted, allowing us to gather in big groups and go back to work again—and to enter malls and restaurants without tapping in with Trace Together.
But, along with that return to normal, we may start to feel the drudgery of routine coming back, too. Life might even seem to feel boring and tiresome again: back to work Mondays, survive the weekdays, look forward to Fridays, repeat.
However, if you pause to think about it, just a year or so ago, all these things might have seemed like a luxury. At the height of the Covid-19 crisis, we couldn’t even go out for a meal, meet friends, or even go to office or school. It led many of us to even miss the routine of work; at that point, “routine” would have seemed like a blessing.
And indeed, it is!
King Solomon came to a similar conclusion after reflecting on the seeming pointlessness of daily toil. In Ecclesiastes 2:17–23, he despaired over the pain of work, calling it “meaningless”, “toilsome”, and “chasing after the wind”. These descriptions probably resonate with many of us, especially on Monday mornings!
Yet, the wise philosopher then quickly turned to his discovery that daily toil can in fact be seen as a blessing:
“A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” (vv. 24–25).
In Ecclesiastes 3:12–13, Solomon again emphasises this discovery: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.”
When I think about how Covid-19 had turned our lives upside down and “deprived” us of routine, and when I think about how there are many people who are unable to carry out even the simple routines of life because of their physical limitations or personal circumstances, I feel grateful for what many of us have.
“Routine” can be good news, and “boring” can be a blessing indeed.
Perhaps we need to cultivate a godly sense of gratitude, and remember that being able to get back to our routines is a blessing, because it means we are not facing a crisis. That the daily toil is a gift, because we are able to continue working. Perhaps, then, we will then be able to say, thank God it’s Monday!
This week, how about remembering those who are in need and are unable to enjoy life’s simple routines? And how about thanking God that we can eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all our toil, for this is His gift (Ecclesiastes 3:13)?
Lord, thank You for our “usual” routines, that no matter how boring they may seem at times, they are truly a gift. Help me to be grateful for Your every blessing in life, and to see the wonder in the ordinary.
Author: Leslie Koh Leslie Koh spent more than 15 years as a journalist in The Straits Times before moving to Our Daily Bread Ministries. He’s found moving from bad news to good news most rewarding, and still believes that nothing reaches out to people better than a good, compelling story. He likes eating (a lot), travelling, running, editing, and writing.
This article was first published in Spotlight Singapore © Our Daily Bread Ministries. For more articles like this, visit: https://odb.sg/spotlight