One of the great modern problems is boredom. It might seem that we would be one the of least bored ages of all, with our many diversions. Almost every form of entertainment is available quite literally at our fingertips, television, radio, Internet, Netflix, video games, and on and on.
But boredom easily overtakes us moderns. The problem seems quite simply that we are overstimulated.
The loud and frantic pace of even our recreational activities, leaves most of us incapable of appreciating the subtler, gentler, and more hidden things of life.
Dale Ahlquist, the great commentator on Chesterton, in his book “Common Sense” writes:
There is no excuse for being bored… And yet the modern world is bored.… Our entertainment grows louder, flashier, and more bizarre, in an ever more desperate attempt just to keep our attention. (Chapter 2, incipit)
As Chesterton proclaims, In Tremendous Trifles, p. 7) the world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.” He also says that there are no dreary sites, only dreary sightseers.
And thus, boredom is a problem on the inside. And happiness too, is an inside job. A great gift that all of us should seek is is a gift of wonder and awe; the gift to appreciate God’s glories and wonders on display at every moment, and everything we see and everyone we encounter.
But the gift of wonder also depends on other gifts, in particular, humility and gratitude.
The key to happiness and the key to wonder is humility.… Humility means being small enough to see the greatness of something and to feel unworthy of it, and privileged to be a able to enjoy it. (Chapter 2 mid).
Consider well the meaning of these wonderful yet simple words, and the relationship between humility, wonder, and gratitude. Yes, to humble is to feel unworthy of the glories before us, to wonder at them and feel privileged just to enjoy them.
Indeed, even the word “consider” invites us to a kind of awestruck and grateful mysticism. For the word “consider” comes from two Latin words cum (with) + sidera (stars), i.e. “with the stars.” In other words, to “consider” something is to think upon it, regard it and gaze upon it with the wonder that one has been looking at the night sky filled with stars!
So, “consider” well the glories on display from moment to moment, behold them with humility, with wonder, and gratitude.
This video I put together celebrates the night sky, a glory that most of us city dwelling moderns have never truly seen, but a glory that was on display every night before the year 1900.