The Apathy of Leisure

Posted by on June 17, 2013

IdleRichA person capable of creating is happiest when they are creating.

Artists create visual and auditory artifacts that affect our thoughts, moods and attitudes. Riddle-solvers perform feats of engineering and invention. Teachers create new understanding in the minds of their students. Entrepreneurs create businesses that offer us new and different experiences. Communicators create stories and speeches and ads.

Made in the image of God, humans are creators by nature. All humans.

Yes, that includes you.

What do you create? What do you change? What effect do you have on the world around you?

The Success Myth of our culture is an evil one. We are told that “the freedom to do nothing” is the reward provided by great wealth. Have you spent much time among the idle rich? Sadly, I have, and on many occasions.

Leisure feels good when you are weary from intense creating. Leisure is restorative, allowing you to return to your creation with renewed intensity. But when you are satiated with food, it is no longer pleasant to eat. When you are satiated with rest, it is no longer pleasant to rest.

The idle rich aren’t bored because they are rich. They are bored because they are idle. The idle poor have exactly the same feelings as the idle rich, but the idle poor call it “hopelessness.”

Political radio shows exist because people would rather be angry than bored. Horror movies exist because people would rather be frightened than bored. Sensational films and photos exist because people would rather be shocked and offended than bored.

Boredom is a kind of death. Being angry, frightened or offended reminds you that you are alive. But these emotions are sad and fruitless substitutes for the joy that comes from creating.

Happy people value something much more than they value themselves. If there is nothing in your life that means more to you than you do, I fear you will be unhappy. No, that’s not right. I fear you are already unhappy.

Are you feeling lethargic? Apathetic? Bored? Aimless? Hopeless? Get off your ass and do something. It won’t be the outcome that brings you joy; it will be the effort. You’ve probably excused yourself from taking action in the past by saying, “but I’m not very good at it.” Friend, no one is ever “good at it” in the beginning. But anything worth doing is worth doing badly until you get better at it.

Find something that needs to change. It can be anything bigger than you. Fight for it, work for it, throw all your creative energies into it. You will soon be frustrated, angry, disappointed and tired.

But happy.

I’m sorry if this offends you. I thought it might. But I care enough about you to say it anyway.

Doing the best I can.

Roy H. Williams

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