Every year this time of year, I find myself in a rut. The days are gray and I’m weary of cold weather. The buzz of the holidays has quieted and the change of routine that comes with summer seems far off. It’s a season filled with writing and work, causing the days to blur.
My table becomes a metaphor for my life. In the past few months, my crockpot has cooked countless soups, stews and whole chickens. I’ve eaten citrus almost every day to meet recommended daily fruit intake. Sweet potatoes and Brussel sprouts have abounded in our table.
As I’m tired of the foods of the season, I’m restless with my day-to-day life. Though I’m surrounded by nourishing and delicious foods and my days are filled with goodness and beauty, I’m bored.
Food writer and Episcopal priest Robert Farrar Capon describes my problem this way:
“Our response to… loveliness is not always delight: It is, far more often than it should be, boredom. And that is not only odd, it is tragic; for boredom is not neutral – it is the fertilizing principle of unloveliness.”
The past few weeks, I’ve tasted that odd tragedy described by Capon. As I’ve grown bored, unloveliness has followed. Meals have become a mindless routine of scrounging in the fridge, simply looking for something to fill my hungry stomach instead of marveling at the goodness of God’s provision. My days are filled with checking boxes off of my to-do list instead of numbering my days with wisdom and grace.
I know my problem and I see the chasm between where I am and where I want to be. I don’t know how to get to where I want to be.
“In such a situation, the amateur – the lover, the man who thinks heedlessness is a sin and boredom a heresy – is just the man you need,” explains Capon. “The world may or may not need another cookbook, but it needs all the lovers – amateurs – it can get. It is a gorgeous old place, full of clownish graces and beautiful drolleries, and it has enough textures, tastes, and smells to keep us intrigued for more time than we have.”
I can’t simply think my way out boredom (I’ve tried!). As Capon alludes, I need to cultivate my loves for this glorious creation and the life God has given me. So I will re-order my daily routines.
Instead of thoughtlessly pulling leftovers out of the fridge to prepare dinner, I will take a moment to put on my favorite Pandora station, don my apron and set the table. I will place my leftovers in a pan, allow them to gently heat and savor the aromas of leftover chicken and potatoes. Perhaps, I’ll sip a glass of wine after I close my planner and laptop. Then, I’ll sit and enjoy the food provided by Creator. In the midst of the seemingly boring, I will cultivate the lovely.
And through simple practices like these, I will rediscover the wonder and loveliness to be had in the glorious mundane.