Finding Joy In Repetition

‘Tis the season, after the seasons, in which life has a tendency to mask any anticipation or excitement with the veil of redundancy because the hype of the holidays has passed and life is work until that first warm spring day. The waning days of winter offer little titillation as the cold air sticks around, the trees become completely bare, and winter seems endless. As a result, the other day I was struck with a sense of repetitiveness and, frankly, disinterest as I drove to work-again-on a sunless and leafless morning. Yes, it was another day at work, the same as the last and the same, no doubt, as the next. But then…something happened.

In the midst of anti-climactic wallowing I remembered a cell phone video that was taken on Christmas morning of my four year-old which captured an excitement that can only be categorized as heavenly. I couldn’t remember if I’d saved it or not, so I thought to myself that I ought to check on that first thing when I get to work; and then I kept driving.

It was cold and foggy and I was thinking that only trolls and really hairy animals ought to be out in this weather. Of course, my job being what it is meant that I’d need to fit into one of those categories before long. Sad to say I’d shaved that morning so hairy was not going to work. But perhaps my downtrodden attitude about the monotony of the next few months, coupled with almost no desire to strive for anything but survival based on rote memory, justified my being but a troll that day.

I was getting caught up in a “woe is me” that morning because I get bored easily if I don’t feel like I’m being stimulated. I’m a pretty simple person but I need to know that my actions, my work, and my life have focus and purpose otherwise it can be no fun to “troll” through the day, wondering what better things I could be doing than my obligations. Why go to work if work is boring? Why do I get up every morning and do virtually the same thing if the same thing is not over-the-top exciting? Why make just enough money to get by?

I know that one might be thinking that the nearest eight-story building was where I was headed that day, but alas…we can complain internally without contemplating the darkest of endings. In truth, I was just having one of those days when the world seemed like a boring, repetitious ball of obligatory duties; and I’d just spent a small fortune on Christmas so the obligation of work was not going to escape me anytime soon. Wait…Christmas. That’s right, there’s the matter of that video.

When I pulled up to work, again, I parked in, of course, the usual spot. I strode into the building, as I always do, and gathered my things I’d need for the day. I got to my office (work vehicle) and I sat in my usual seat (the driver’s seat). I pulled out my phone and I shuffled through the pictures and videos until I found the one I’d been thinking of. Then I played it again; a monotony, unbeknownst to me, that would become a troll’s undoing.

The video starts out really dark and one can only hear voices as my son and daughter make their way down the hall to check to see if Saint Nick had come. Upon reaching the living room, my son does indeed notice that Santa had been there and he says a few “wow’s!” My 18-month old daughter notices that Santa didn’t eat all the cookies. My son scans around more and the video gets progressively brighter. Just about the time you can make out his small frame he notices the one thing that he really, really wanted….he got. He shouts out “yes!” in a manner I’ve not heard from his young chords yet. True elation is the only way to describe it. I cried and then I asked myself some questions. Do I wake up every morning to hear myself complain about redundancy? The answer was “no.” Do I go to work and do the same job everyday to hear myself whine about dull and ceaseless labor? Again, “no.”

I wake up every day, shower, shave, make breakfast, make coffee, get dressed, get the kids dressed, take them to school, go to work, work, get off work, go home, eat dinner, play for a few minutes and then go to bed to start it over again 6 hours later because it allows me to hear my son scream “yes!” Justification for my repetition.

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