Seemingly the worse criticism that can be made of any happening is that is was monotonous. The implication is that it was boring, going nowhere and so of little value. Change, innovation, discovering new ways are seen as essential if we are to avoid the sin of monotony.
Yet it is the routine, the daily rhythm and the presence of the familiar that are the foundation of stable lives. There is an essential monotony that keeps us healthy and whole. Yes monotony can be used to oppress and crush the human spirit but there is also a creative monotony that sets us free.
Embracing monotony invites us to be truly present in the present, to give attention to the here and now. In marriage it is your familiar face, the repeated embrace, the little habits and quirks of our shared life. In faith it is the familiar words, the repeated prayers, the little habits and quirks of our religious life. It is in this good soil of the daily round that we can flourish and grow.
The rejection of monotony is to live in the endless hope that there is something better out there awaiting us, and ensnare us to the disposable and the fleeting. When we seek distraction rather than monotony it is often a way of avoiding the things we are running away from – the things that will return when the distraction is over. Creative monotony is not against change, but rather invites us to a deep consideration of the real change we need rather than the change which merely distracts or avoids.
Embracing monotony in both relationships and faith says, you are important to me in the ordinary and the mundane as much as in the new and exciting; it affirms I will be with you in the midst of the daily routine as much as in the new adventure.
Thankfully God is gloriously monotonous: I love you, I accept you, I am with you. The divine message is unchanging; it is the monotony of God that provides the stability to face with confidence what ever the new year may bring.