Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
November 9, 2008
Get excited about something worthwhile or boredom will kill you
Life is hell if you have nothing to be excited about. When you are not excited about anything you are an easy target for boredom. And boredom will kill you.
People who are bored are not easy to live with. Apathy is like cold soup; you don’t know whether to swallow it or spit it out. Don’t tell me you don’t care if I ask you to go to lunch. A disinterested response makes me think of Taco Bell, not Red Lobster.
The apathetic soul will ask “What is there to be excited about?” The question is dripping with depression. Nothing is going right. Promises have been broken. Dreams have been shattered. There is simply nothing left to live for. Hope is gone.
I admit that it is very difficult to keep a positive attitude when apathy has you by the nap of the neck. Simply breathing can become boring. You want to go to bed, go to sleep, and hope you never wake up.
So what is the key to breaking the stranglehold of apathy? I contend that the solution is to find something worthwhile that you can get excited about.
Someone asked to visit a friend in the hospital who had tried to commit suicide. I asked the woman why she wanted to die. She said, “I am a failure. Life is boring. Nobody loves me. So I decided to end it all.”
She had shot herself in the chest with a 38 revolver. When she woke up in the hospital she was surprised to discover she was still alive. She managed a weak laugh and said, “I even failed at killing myself.”
I asked her why she thought she was still alive. She said nothing for a few moments, and then said, “I guess God must want me alive.” Her words suggested a spark of hope. I encouraged her to believe that God still had a purpose for her life. She agreed to try to find that purpose.
A month later she came walking into my office at the church and asked if I would baptize her. She wanted to become a Christian. For the first time in her life she was excited about the future. She was convinced that God had a reason for not letting her die.
It took a bullet hole in her chest to move her from depression to excitement. Most of us do not need something so dramatic. Sometimes all it takes is an encouraging friend who restores our faith in ourselves. Even one friend can make a profound difference.
The key is something “worthwhile,” something that has value for another person, something that makes a difference. I guess you could get excited about a dog fight, or a bottle of whiskey, or a night on the town, but the excitement would not last long. That kind of excitement disappears like fog in the morning sunshine. Boredom would soon have you by the throat.
Sarah’s husband died when she was 40. She was so grief stricken that sorrow engulfed the rest of her life. Grief turned to apathy and dominated her personality until she died at age 99.
She did struggle to break free at times. And she was on the right track. She tried to do “worthwhile” things for her family. Strong and healthy until her last years, she often raked leaves, cleaned house, ironed clothes and cooked food for her family. Her fried apple pies were out of this world.
It was only after her death that I realized what an unselfish person she had been. Had I been more aware of her unselfishness, and less conscious of her apathy, I might have been the friend who helped liberate her from her lethargic prison. In retrospect I am sure she did not remain in that prison by choice; she simply did not know how to break out.
Ultimately the choice is a personal one. Each of us must find the courage to get excited about doing something of value for others or we will face time in the prison cell of boredom. So if you ask someone what he is excited about these days, and he answers, “I don’t know and I don’t care,” then rejoice. You have found a project! + + +