Exercise in Boredom: The Excitement of Watching Grass Grow




Ever pay attention to the parables Jesus gives in describing the Kingdom of God?  At least two of them involves agriculture (Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Weeds); there are others but they are more about labor issues albeit in an agricultural context (usually set in a vineyard).  A parable specifically about labor relationship is about a cook and a security guard.  Plus one about the wedding party falling asleep.

Dipping into them, usually we like to see the exciting punch line at the end where some form of judgement are meted out like in the Parable of the Weeds, the bad weeds are separated from the good wheat to be burned.  Or, in the case of the cook or the security guard who fails the master and gets kicked out to where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.  And in the wedding, half of girls who fell asleep gets a “I-do-not-know-you” treatment.  Seems like we have this thing for wanting to see people or things go to hell.

The different task involved in these parables are essentially boring: watching the wheat and weeds grow has the excitement of watching grass grow.  The responsibility of the “faithful servant” was to cook for the other servants—he is not the master chef cooking for the boss or the show-biz guest—he is the dirty kitchen cook feeding his fellow co-workers.  Excited yet?

What about the security guard waiting for the thief in the night?  Thieves do not give announcements when they would come around (although, here in the Philippines, they do give press releases—but I digress).  If there is some form of intel that would alert to guards to be on their toes, they would be wide awake.  But what about those days when nothing seems to be happening?  In fact, if they were doing their jobs really well...nothing would happen.

At the wedding party, the girls given the “I-do-not-know-you treatment” were not treated that way because they fell asleep.  The other half who gets to go to the party also fell asleep!  Both groups were bored enough to doze off.

These parables that I mentioned all involved some form of judgement at the end—the apparently exciting part.  The part where the world endsthe Second Coming, Armageddon, the Apocalypse (nuclear, zombie, what have you)where we all die and the good goes to heaven and the bad goes to hell and all that.  We have all these speculations trying to figure out the signs, referring to Nostradamus, the Mayans, aliens, and whoever else might give a hint when these might happen.  That gets our attention  But we are not there yet: we preoccupy ourselves with those because watching grass grow is boring.  Or, washing dishes.  Or, staying awake waiting for a possible intruder.  Or, just waiting for apparently nothing.

It seems being bored is a matter of factly a thing that is there.  The parables does not sugar coat it or make it interesting—it is just there.  Being bored seems so normal.  And it seems it is something we master...or die of.