On Boredom


“What is boredom? Endless repetitions… except for the fact that there is no such thing as boredom. Boredom is really a psychic defense protecting us from ourselves, from complete paralysis, by repressing, among other things, the meaning of that place, which in this case is and always has been horror.”

– Dr. Helen Hodge in Mark Z. Danielewski’s “House of Leaves”


When I was a kid, I was often bored during the “adult service” at Church. I’d pass the time doodling overtop the Fellowship Baptist Newsletter, with the hopes of shortening said time spent in the backdraft of Mrs. Margot’s perfume cloud…

Although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, “boredom,” as opposed to the healthy helping of other sins and transgressions, revealed itself as the cardinal sin of all church communities. Seriously, nothing frightened and/or frustrated congregants more than apathetic, disinterested teenagers. They would’ve better preferred those kids who skipped class and shot stray cats with beebee guns, so long as they showed up on Sunday teary-eyed and yearning to sing “The Wondrous Cross.”

Heaping dunes of cash were funneled into our youth program to keep us entertained when the subject material was lacking. Our youth room went through a series of renovations; the end result looking moreso like a Starbucks than the expected Southern Baptist “youth room.” If only they knew the purpose of our boredom, and how it sheltered us from the insignificance of the entire venture… Our “boredom” sheltered us, much in the same fashion that the sealed box did Schr√∂dinger’s cat, and the closed tomb did the carcass of Christ. Enforcing one’s will by “rolling away the stone”, ironically set into motion both the death sentence and subsequent resurrection of Jesus, simultaneously.

Boredom is symptomatic and avoidant, as it points to the horrifying nature of the Real. He who goes on to keep their boredom on such hollowed ground, keeps also, their faith. The day that I traded my amateur drawings of cartoon strips for the sermon outline, was the day that the tomb was opened, revealing the emaciated, maggot infested, broken body of a man I never had the pleasure of knowing…

– by Bryce Maxwell



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