You have a decent career oriented job. You feel challenged, sort of, but the pay is good, so you can’t complain. You’ve had a few offers to go elsewhere, but you’ve turned them down because of family priorities. Kids are happy, wife is happy; no sense in uprooting everyone for your ego. Besides her folks live nearby and watch the kids often, so you and your bride get regular time away. Can’t put a price tag on that, can you?
But you can’t put your finger on it. With all this going for you, why does it still gnaw at you at 3am, after tossing and turning too long? You’re too tired to get up, but too awake to stay in bed. You don’t want to read, late night TV only leads to more senselessness. What is the answer to this persistent question…
…why am I so bored?
And it’s most evident on Sunday morning. You’re a good dad, so you get the kids fed, dressed and in the car while your wife gets ready. At church you take them to their respective classrooms and leave them with eager, wonderful people who give you no reason to worry about their well-being, and you and your wife enter the flow of people into the large theatre and settle in for the next 56 minutes.
She knows something is wrong, because you have this tell-tale signal of rubbing your eyes that give an indication you want to stab them out with a fork in order to divert your attention to something engaging. You sing, sort of. You shake hands with people around you. You actually shut off your phone per her request so you aren’t tempted to text someone else who feels the same way you do. You listen as best you can, even though your mind wanders. You leave your tithe in the collection plate. And next thing you know, your 56 minutes is up.
So you shuffle out of the theatre, saying hi to a few folk on the way back to pick up your kids. They hand you their coloring sheet. The teacher gives a hug and a farewell. You buckle the kids in the back of the minivan, turn on Prairie Home Companion and listen to Garrison Keillor while you wait on your wife to fill her tank with social interaction.
When the bee is finished verbally pollinating the ears of the other familiar flowers, she gets in the car and informs you of the other families that are meeting at the latest child centered food and entertainment bonanza and asks if you would like to join them. “Of course” is the expected reply, and you pull out of the parking lot as the radio changes from NPR to Veggie Tales.
On arrival, mom suggests that dad take the kids right away to the playground while she orders the food, so you find the other dads at the ball pit with the same marching orders. You talk a little Favre and hope you can get home in time to watch the second half. In the meantime, its time to eat, so you begin the process of corralling the children and redirect their attention toward lunch. Once all the other parents clue in to their children’s restlessness, you all agree to disperse and say goodbye for another week.
And you wonder if you’re the only one that feels the way you do.