Once upon a time, there was an ordinary man. Every day, his alarm clock went off. On good days, he would reach over, turn off the alarm, get up, and go to the gym. On the other days, he would hit the snooze button. Upon returning from the YMCA (or waking up after another hour), this man would take a shower and put on a collared shirt and khaki pants.
He would then hear the scurrying of little feet upstairs, and would trace the sound until it eventually made its way down the stairs revealing three young children hungry for breakfast. The man and his wife would go upstairs and get out bowls, milk, and cereal. The family would eat and then clean up the dishes. Then he would get in his car and begin the commute to work. When he got to work, just when he thought this was going to be an ordinary day in his ordinary life . . .
It was. He spent the next eight hours sitting in front of his computer. Answering e-mails. Taking phone calls. Checking a news website occasionally. Then he got in his car and went home. When he pulled in, sure that he knew exactly what was going to happen when he opened the back door . . .
He was right again. He hugged and played with all the kids. He kissed his wife. They had dinner. They watched TV. They went to bed.
What did you expect? International intrigue? A call from the president? A natural disaster, or a chance to be a hero? Not here. Not in that day. Not in my life.
Probably not in yours either.
This is what most of my days look like. Oh sure, there is the occasional interruption in the routine and some vacations peppered in there, but by and large, it’s a fairly regular way to live. A fairly regular way to live for a fairly regular guy.
Most of us are just that—regular. Ordinary. Boring. Most of our lives are spent doing regular, ordinary, boring kinds of things. Changing diapers. Going to work. Reading books. Playing with kids. Relating to our spouses. Paying bills.
I’ve never met a president. Or saved a child from a burning building. Or climbed Everest. I don’t run in powerful circles or tweet nuggets of wisdom adored by millions. My office walls don’t have pictures with me and the Queen of England or medals from my wins at the Olympic Games. Perhaps if I were an international man of mystery, I’d look over and see a picture of me standing next to a world leader at that ceremony when I was awarded some token for my bravery. Then I could turn and see another wall full of mementos and trinkets collected from my adventures. Instead I’m looking at four family pictures, a calendar, and a particularly fierce-looking rendering of a black and yellow fire-breathing dragon laying waste to a castle.
A regular life isn’t bad, necessarily. In fact, a certain kind of bliss accompanies the “normal” life. There aren’t a lot of surprises, and for a guy who has a to-do list for every day (with the last item on that list being “Make tomorrow’s list”), a lack of surprises can be very comforting. What is more, an ordinary life actually affords an opportunity to love things like pictures from an eight-year-old of dragons and castles. In an ordinary life, your existence becomes papered with moments like these.
And yet . . .
And yet there are those days that just feel boring. The routine becomes monotony, and you find yourself refreshing your e-mail over and over again, waiting for something—anything—to break up the ticking of the clock. You feel something inside of you, something that appreciates the life you have, but at the same time wonders if there’s something more. Something that you’re missing. I feel that way sometimes.
Michael Kelley, Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life (Nashville: B&H, 2013).
I have just completed a series of lessons based on Michael Kelly’s book, Boring. They are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription service. For a medium-sized church, lesson subscriptions are only $10 per teacher per year. Lessons correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines as well as the International Standard Series.