Turn Aside and Look: Exulting in Monotony



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.

~G.K. Chesterton from Orthodoxy



To an infant, nothing is monotonous — it is all so new.  The routine of the day is very simple and reassuring: sleep, wake, cry, nurse, clean up, gaze out at the world, turn on the smiles –repeat.

The routine becomes more complex as we age until it no longer resembles a routine, if we can help it. We don’t bother getting up to watch the sun rise yet again and don’t notice the sun set once more.

Weary as we may be with routine, our continual search for the next new thing costs us in time and energy.   We age every time we sigh with boredom or turn away from the mundane and everyday, becoming less and less like our younger purer selves.

Who among us exults in monotony and celebrates predictability and enjoys repetition, whether it is sunrise or sunset or an infinite number of daisies?

God does on our behalf.  He is consistent, persistent and insistent because we are no longer are.

Do it again, God.  Please, please do it again.




4 thoughts on “Turn Aside and Look: Exulting in Monotony

  1. I loved this–I’ve always appreciated Chesterton’s quote, and your addition to it, along with the beautiful photos–especially of your little granddaughter–a gentle, special reminder. Thank you!


  2. Before I neglect to mention: that knowing ‘just-between-us’ perceptive look that Emma Sophia is exhibiting in this pic today is priceless – and very telling. She portends to be one very interesting little girl. Hope her U.S. family get to see her often. (You will be wearing out your Canon, Emily!)

    Your prophetic observations about monotony (and routine) are most interesting. We humans do get caught in that trap very easily. We take for granted – become jaded by – so many things, including people, in our lives – particularly what we mistakenly consider to be the ‘small’ insignificant things’ – the messages and gifts that we receive from our Creator God .

    I think, too, that monotony can become a soul killer in that it tends to numb our feelings and expectations as it inhibits spiritual growth and keeps us from seeing THE ‘MORE’ that our God always has ready to give to us.

    Thank you, Emily.


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