With the summer here, boredom lurks quickly behind it. “I’m bored…” will be a recurring chant. I guess, we are a generation that could be unified by that one word, “bored.” We are bored with everything under the sun. We are bored with everything that we invented to help us overcome boredom. We are even bored with relationships, work and religion. We are bored, maybe because we have quenched our thirst for wonder.
Bored with Relationships
Relationships, why are we bored with it? One reason why we are easily bored is because we have a crude fascination for novelty. This is very evident in today’s sitcoms that caricature relationships. Boy meets girl. Sparks fly. Exciting relationship begins. Then the enthusiasm dwindles. The relationship becomes stale, meaningless and boring. So end the relationship. Tomorrow, boy meets “new” girl and repeats the whole process again because he is bored and hopes to find meaning again.
While relationships are meant to give meaning to our lives it often becomes the cause of taking meaning away from life. The solution probably lies in being responsible. Meaning comes from taking responsibility. When you begin to see yourself as a responsible human being every action of yours will be regulated in a way that will inevitably give you meaning.
Is it possible that many of us experience intimate relationships (non-regulated) too early in life that when it comes to experiencing a real relationship we are confused? Have we become like children who have played and experimented with fire, without proper guidance and have hurt ourselves so much that we have forgotten the benefits of fire? So instead of starting a fire to keep us warm, we start one and burn the entire edifice down.
Thus resulting in what the lyrics of this song suggests,
Under these circumstances, they can hardly cope
Notice their fleeting glances and their lack of hope
I offer this suggestion, they don’t seem to care-o
This is my generation, drowning in despair-o
Instead of getting rid of relationships because we have become bored with it, maybe, reviving meaningful relationships can be the solution to boredom. This summer we could begin by building non-intimate (regulated behaviour) yet good friendships (meaningful life). Regulated behaviour helps you live a responsible life. A responsible life gives you meaning.
To do that we need something called courage.
What is courage? Aristotle believed that courage is central to everything that we do.
1. It takes courage to face fear.
2. Courage is to balance between extremities.
How do we incorporate these two aspects of courage into our relationships?
One, in every relationship there are all sorts of fears. These fears often revolve around trust and abuse. A courageous person should be able to face that fear and change the outcomes of that relationship. Courage should determine the outcome of any relationship at the very beginning. To do that we have to protect ourselves with boundaries that we will not allow anyone, no matter how close, to cross.
When people attempt to cross those lines, speak out! Find your voice, be confident and speak out even in the face of fear. When you speak out you are exercising courage and letting the other person know that you are in control and that you are aware of what they might be trying to do to you. When you begin speaking up you are actively thinking and not being a docile recipient. Every relationship can be meaningful because you are not willing to allow the other person to abuse it.
Two, every relationship needs to avoid extremes and find balance. To find that balance you need reason and revelation. You need psychology and theology. Psychology tells you that if you continue on the path of boredom you can end up doing something stupid. Stupid enough to corrupt potentially good relationships. Thus resulting in a very chaotic situation.
To balance that extreme out you need something to change your perspective completely. In II Corinthians 5:17 it says, if you allow Christ to take control of your life, you will become a new creature; the old will pass away and watch out, everything will become new. He will give you a new perspective on all your relationships because you have been made new. It takes courage to hand over everything to Christ. But eventually, you are better off than bored. You will then be able to approach everything in life with wonder. Every good thing that you were bored by will become meaningful.