Beauty in Monotony

At two a.m. on Thursday morning, it finally set in.

I typed the last word on my English homework, snapped my MacBook shut, and felt relief rush over me with the thought, It’s over. This relief lasted a full two seconds, replaced quickly by the realization, I have to get up and do it all again in 5 hours.

At this moment, college became real to me. And not a good real. The pomp and circumstance of Orientation were over, and the grind had begun. As I thought it through, my predicament only became worse. There would be no end in sight. With the constant inflow of assignments, I would never truly be ahead. Weekends would be just enough of a break to come up for air, and then I would plunge back into the endless cycle. What have I gotten myself into?

Endless routine, that’s what. One project after another. Completely scheduled days.

Monotony.

Thankfully, this was a trigger word in my mind. Ever since I read Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton, I can never feel the same way about the word again. So when my anxious musings reached their finally conclusion with the most negative connotation of this word, they were met in my memory with Chesterton’s much different feelings toward the same term.

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

My class schedule was not the problem. College was not the problem. Monotony was not the problem. The problem was my inability to see the beauty in these things.

If God does not tire of making daisies, I should not tire of reading textbooks. As He exults in making the Sun rise every morning, I should exult in rising to live another day.

As I meditated on this quote, once again my paradigm began to shift. I get to wake up every day and go to classes on a beautiful campus, where I learn deep truths about God and about life, surrounded by people I love. What a blessing. What an opportunity.

 As I write this, I am somewhat ashamed to admit that this is not the first time I have needed to learn this lesson. I have gone through this same process before. Multiple times.

Thankfully, though, just as God has not grown tired of making daisies, He has not grown tired of teaching it to me. I pray that I will never grow tired of learning it.

About the author

Coby Dolloff

My name is Coby Dolloff, and I am a freshman Biblical Studies and English major at John Brown University. I love a good book, a good cup of coffee, or a good game of basketball. I exist to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.

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