Well, it’s the 5th week of Lent and I have given up TV for almost 40 days. Now, I did watch one basketball game and one movie on TV and I watched a movie in the theater but other than that and some online Facebook videos, the TV has been off for me.
Tonight, I really wanted to watch some TV. It was just one of those nights where all you want to do is veg in front of the TV. My husband was out of town and I really felt like watching TV because the house was quiet and empty–just like a desert–like the desert that Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights in. Jesus was tempted and I was really tempted tonight to just plug in. Sometimes it is hard to contend with ourselves when there is no activity planned. When our lives are so busy with so many activities we often feel guilty when we do absolutely nothing.
What have I learned these past days? Am I not just going to go back to what I was doing after Easter arrives? Isn’t it supposed to be about a conversion of heart–to cut away the slack-stripping the excess away? To draw closer to Jesus?
By giving up TV and having extra time available, I found that I experienced a pulling-away from my regular routine to discover something new. In the pulling-away, I found that I was more receptive to an unplanned life of sorts, allowing me to leave room for the quiet, still voice of the Holy Spirit.
Instead of coming home after work and turning on the news without a second thought, I would come home and cook something nutritious, read a book, call my kids and my mom, or just sit in a chair with a cup of tea and do nothing. I found that I picked up actual hard-covered books to read which I haven’t done in a while. I completed two of them and am on my third. I tended not to look at the denial of something pleasurable or routine as a “giving up” but a “honing-in.”
I also refrained from looking up the news on-line except for a few tweets or even clickbait that caught my eye so I probably didn’t miss much. Another thing I learned, is that it is hard to do something completely if the other person, my husband, is not doing the same thing-namely, giving up TV. I had to put my blinders on.
Yes, I can’t wait to watch TV again! I can’t wait to tune into the programs to watch my newscaster “friends,” (my husband gets a chuckle out of this) watch a few select TV programs, watch some of the Oscar movies or just relax and watch TV with my husband. I am going to enjoy watching TV, albeit a bit more judiciously.
I don’t mean to make denial of trivial things (yes, TV viewing is trivial) important. There are hardships in life that are more important and difficult to endure and I think that denying ourselves from trivial things from time-to-time, allows us to unite with those that are truly suffering and reminds us of how and why Christ suffered for us.