How it is that the entirety of western civilization, and especially western Judeo Christian belief rests solidly within the comforting fiction of a life here consisting of perpetual bliss? That is a promise of the next world, but surely not this one. We persevere trials and difficulties under the guise of “things will get better” or the even more rueful “things cannot get any worse”. The peaks and valleys of life are such that one must find the appreciation of joy wherever they can; often times wiping the grime from it as a trinket of buried treasure in the ruins of some distant culture. Catastrophe is not so much a burden. It sets us collectively as a flint about the necessity of recovery...we bury the dead...mourn the loss...and do as best we can to reset the normality of our lives. And that in itself is the rub... Our problem as such is not so much the acquiescence of tragedy, but the perseverence of Banality While desiring order, and normality, it is the prolonged exposure of routine we abhor. Life becomes a litany of responsibilities and lists; the sameness of all, and everything, and everyone...and we exist in absolute fear and loathing of it. Its why we change churches, hairstyles, cars, spouses...its why we attend conferences, read all the selfhelp books, and change the color of our houses. That in the effort to change all of the outwardly obvious signs of our banal existence, we might find some key to perpetual happiness. As if such a thing is found on a map?! We seek to discover a distraction from ourselves; our sameness; our quite ordinary, and unextraordinary lives. We desire to be entertained...instantly, perpetually on demand. And that is a weakness. “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” - Theodore Roosevelt Its not that I'm pessimistic, or downtrodden. I just dont expect life to keep me giddy 24/7. I am not a member of the Stepford Faithful...its okay to have a bad day...or a boring day. I don't think I need to spout rainbows of every little detail of my life. Honestly, there is the vast majority of my life thats just...boring. And that's okay too. It seems a contradiction that we so admire, and idolize those who accomplish through hardwork and sacrifice, while we ourselves are superficially contented to laze about as “armchair experts” of those we worship. Yes, thats a jab There is a lot about life and living that is routine. It is the very definition of banality. You are not dying. You are not depressed. You are certainly not persecuted. You are bored, and you're lazy, and you lack initiative. We expect life to be miraculous, but its supposed to be routine...so that when the miraculous happens, we can recognize the difference between it and entertainment without distraction. Prayer is routine. Study is routine. Practice and training are routine. Diet is routine. Work and preparation are routine. Responsibility is routine. If you want to reap the reward of excellence, you must be forged and formed in routine. The best musicians were not created on the stage in front of thousands, but in the practice room. If the play is the thing, it was the rehersal that made it. Those who hear from God with the greatest clarity, learned the sound of His voice in the prayer closet, not the pulpit. Excellence is finding the extraordinary among the routine...its joy is realizing it was “hidden” there all along. Everyday, I passed Christ on the way to work, and never realized He was there. Every single day, I missed an opportunity to meet Jesus. And I missed it because that opportunity was disguised as routine and I was more interested in being entertained than I was in being filled. And as we say: There's that.