25 January 2011


Today's activity was out of the ordinary for me.  Since having retired nearly three years ago, no longer does my schedule include seminars.

This one was worth my time. 
  • Title:  On Reclaiming Our Creative Selves
  • Speaker:  Robert C Dykstra, Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Location:  St Mark's United Methodist Church, Greenwood SC
  • Sponsor:  Self Regional Healthcare Clergy Staff
  • #1 take away:  A quote on boredom from Jennifer Schussler, author of "Our Boredom, Ourselves"
But boredom itself may be a highly useful human capacity, at least according to some psychologists and neuroscientists, who have begun examining it not just as an accomplice to depression and addiction but as an important source of creativity, well-being and our very sense of self.
A child announces boredom to a parent.  The mother says, "Go rake the yard."  Meaning: be busy, cover it up, deny it.  Or, the father sets out to entertain or by means of purchasing something to distract the child from the distress of being bored.  Perhaps the most instructive thing for the child, within limits of course, would be to hear a "gee, I'm sorry" and to live with the boredom and into some self-discovery.

An adult is bored.  Rather than self-medicating with pills or alcohol or drugs, perhaps the best thing for that person would be to live in and with that bored state.  There may well be essential truth on the far side of that troublesome boredom that will instruct that life. 

I am comforted, as one who offers pastoral care still, by the idea that it is not my job in such a setting or relationship to take away a person's boredom and to know that the boredom can lead to discovery and to direction if we are patient and welcoming.

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