My apologies for the long delay between blogposts. I haven’t posted more frequently because of my obsession with excellence that sets the bar too high for me to publish most of my half-baked thoughts. I’m going to try trading off polish and thoroughness of thinking for frequency and volume of ideas. Let’s see how this experiment goes–if it fails, I can switch back or try something new (comments welcome!).
Many people feel bored with life because of its plodding “same old, same old”. I now know what it feels like to be on the other extreme: I feel like I’ve been
drinking out of a firehose drowning in a pool of novelty for the past month. Before I get into some details, here’s an observation:
Things get boring when they get old. For a toddler, the simplest experience of a floating balloon can be a source of delight for several days. For a particularly despondent teenager, you might need a surround sound system with a 500-watt subwoofer and stunning visual effects to arrest their attention.
The pain of boredom can often turn life into an endless pursuit of “the next big thing”, e.g. the newest smartphones, latest fashions, real-time political news, and nascent philosophies where wonder, mystery and discovery seemingly lie (this is perhaps one of the logical primary pursuits in life for a secularist who believes this decaying world is all there is–since the old is always passing away, you constantly must produce and keep up with what’s new lest everything you know or have becomes worthless).
One might assume that alot of novelty would be incredibly exciting, but I think I’ve bordered on the tipping point of what I can handle. For example, last weekend I went on a roadtrip to LA with friends and had the novel experience of an 18hr drive without layovers. Great company, good conversation, but my body clock has been way off ever since.
During the trip, my Motorola Rizr fell on pavement and turned into a “Cracked-berry”. This fortuitous circumstance disrupted my dithering–I had been meaning to buy a new cellphone for several months–and “forced” me get a Motorola Droid :-). (I plan on buying an iPad, so I didn’t get an iPhone).
As you can imagine, my attention was totally absorbed by the shiny new toy in my pocket for three days straight. Not good, especially considering that I am the coordinator for my church‘s Easter service this Sunday and should have been directing those efforts (which has also been a novel project management experience).
The day after Easter, I start my first full time job at Amazon.com, which I expect to be mindnumbingly mindblowing. I’m anxious enough about all the learning, listening, relationship building and exploring I’m going to have to do my first week that I postponed buying an iPad because I know its alluring novelty will likely be a massive distraction.
Anyway, just to emphasize how novel-ed out I am, the two weekends prior to the LA trip, I attended two Seattle conferences: one for youth put on by Dare2Share and an “All Things Church” ministry conference at Overlake Christian Church where I helped man the booth for my dad’s company iCrescendo. (I plan on summarizing my thoughts on these conferences in a future post). It would be nice to have the freedom of exploring and enjoying all of these experiences at a contemplative pace instead of trying to process a year’s worth of material in the span of a month (sidenote: maybe that’s why couples need to cool off and pull back sometimes–too much, too fast without time to reflect…).
These experiences have led me to the (half-baked) conclusion that novelty is delightful and healthy in measured amounts. Too little and we stop learning and growing and become boring. Too much and we can’t take it all in and get frustrated because we want to enjoy it while it quickly passes us by. Ideally we could engage in selective novelty from a basis of stability. And of course there’s the dessert of reminiscing about the joy of a first ____ when novelty gives way to nostalgia.
Lastly, a brief note from a Christian perspective on how gracious God–the perpetual novelty–is in revealing himself as a relatable, discoverable human being in Jesus Christ. After my experience being overwhelmed these past weeks, I wonder what it would be like for God to reveal His glory in a massive awesome display, perhaps like he did to Isaiah…not only would I feel undone by God’s holiness, but it seems like the innumerable virtues to enjoy and explore would overload my senses and cause my body to explode into a million pieces all longing to fully experience the slightest hint of glory.
By coming as a man in Jesus, people can meet and discover a fellow human being instead of falling apart at first contact. By faith, we can today look back and contemplate the glory revealed in Israel’s history and at the Cross while looking forward to the hope of the Resurrection that Jesus guaranteed by rising form the dead. Soon we will have the honor of spending an eternity exploring and enjoying every detail of the infinite glory of God–an everlasting novelty.