No boring days in God's creation
By Ray Waddle
Research has identified the most boring day on earth since 1900: April 11, 1954. Nothing much happened that day. No catastrophes, no huge headlines. A noted Turkish scholar was born. Belgium held an election. That’s about it. Scientists in England created a search engine that can organize 300 million newsworthy facts, and that April day turned up as the big boring loser.
This news gives the odd impression that we should gang up on April 11, 1954, as a tainted object of ridicule, the historic underachiever and waste of time.
Not so fast. I wasn’t around then, but the case could be made that April 11 in the Year of Our Lord 1954 wasn’t boring at all. Strange dramas happened that day that no one even now can account for.
The sun rose. Springtime bloomed. The night stars churned. The web of life infiltrated every hour. Some people were born, others died. Big dreams were set in motion. Destinies were decided, others were closed off. That day sent out unstoppable ripples. We haven’t been the same since.
You might protest: But April 11, 1954, was boring from a political, social point of view, not from the standpoint of nature or cosmos.
But there’s no use sending the natural world and the human one to their separate corners. They can’t be sharply divided, not practically or spiritually.
“God who made the heavens and earth uses his creation to show us something of his glory and give us something of his life,” writes Richard Foster in his classic book Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth.
Creation’s careful details, as he notes – tree, cloud, fish, fox, crow, breeze, rain, plain, sea – contain clues, ways of quieting the mind and hearing divine calling. The data of
creation flickers, even on the least eventful day in history.
So I salute the most boring day of the last 112 years. We could use a day like that now and then here in the 21st century, where every day seems determined to be furiously overscheduled,
but seldom savored.
I found out something else about April 11, 1954. It was a Sunday. Maybe there was no newsworthy mischief that day because it was the last Sabbath in history where the world actually rested. That would be newsworthy.
I am trying to keep all this in mind during Lent – time is ticking away, the divine fingerprints deserve attention, let no day go wasted, not even the most boring day in the
history of your life.
Waddle is a columnist, author and the editor of Reflections magazine, published by Yale Divinity School.