Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Mundane and the Magnificent

“The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident.”

—Charles Lamb.

My wife and I have been both bemused and perplexed to a small extent at the presence of this distinctive bird around our home of late—he’s a seasonal chap who tweets quite a distinctive high-pitched repetitive tune; a ‘routine’ that’s just as likely to commence at 10 P.M. as it is any other time. Trying to get to sleep with this sparky little guy tweeting effervescently away is at times simply, “trying.”

Just like a repetitively crying baby to a new mother, the tune of this bird is difficult to extract from the mind at times. I even heard it in the city recently and had to ask myself if it was really there.

Then there are times when we choose to make one of those shaken milk drinks in the kitchen. In goes the milk, then the powder, close it up, give it a shake… oops, lid not on tight enough! Milk all over floor and us. Sound familiar? (Perhaps it’s just me at 5 A.M. who does this?)

Somehow, both of these quite mundane experiences put paid to the mundane simply in their difference—what we make them out to be. The bird would not be unusual unless I first thought it strange i.e. for a bird to tweet like its morning, all night long.

The milk all over the place is a mess to be cleaned up, but it’s more. It’s a test of patience and a test of resisting the temptation to deride myself as a klutz. This mundane event also shows me the power of physics: energy and mass in an uncontrolled environment equals mess all over the place.

At the risk of sounding like I’ve got a pretty boring life, it seems to me these issues of life propound a cogent message.

Life’s a blast. The mundane is the magnificent.

Perhaps this is part of the solution to the challenge of boredom. Extract all the meaning from the bored state; stimulus for the very next venture. Here it is revealed that boredom is a blatant luxury, resplendent with such gilt-edged things of opportunity.

This leads us back to the quote at the start of the article:

The mundane moment births the ideal opportunity to do something good by stealth, only then to cunningly slink away wondering who’ll be the beneficiary.

Hence, there’s the magnificence in the mundane.

The bird tweeting in the city necessitated some self-reflection—a blessing in disguise. Milk all over the place proves we can be tested for patience and good humour (in the cleaning up) and not be found wanting—further blessing.

We should pray for more boredom and the mundane. Who knows what inadvertent blessings might be conjured!

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

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