Boredom is not something I have the luxury of being inflicted with at the moment. Depression? – maybe, disillusionment? – possibly, but not boredom.
St. Paul’s has a summer book club and now we are reading The Diary of a Country Priest, by Georges Bernanos. The book takes place in France after WWII and before Vatican II and is written by a young priest in his first parish. I wonder how much more applicable today are this priest’s thoughts on boredom then even then.
“Well, as I was saying, the world is eaten up by boredom. To perceive this needs a little preliminary thought: you can’t see it all at once. It is like dust. You go about and never notice, you breathe it in, you eat and drink it. It is sifted so fine, it doesn’t even grit on your teeth. But stand still for an instant and there it is, coating your face and hands. To shake off this drizzle of ashes you must be for ever on the go. And so people are always ‘on the go.’ Perhaps the answer would be that the world has long been familiar with boredom, that such is the true condition of man. No doubt the seed was scattered all over life, and here and there found fertile soil to take root; but I wonder if man has ever before experienced this contagion, this leprosy of boredom: an aborted despair, a shameful form of despair in some way like the fermentation of Christian decay.
“Naturally I keep these thoughts to myself…” (pp. 2-3)