It’s been one week of the Lenten TV ban in the Dawn house. And so far it has, without question, been one of the best things I have ever done for Lent. I have sat with uncomfortable feelings, rather than drowning them out. I have run to God instead of running to the draw of imaginary characters on a bright screen. I have been thrilled to feel fully alive rather than being relieved to feel mercifully numb.
And I’m certain I haven’t even gotten to the good part yet.
I assigned last night, Tuesday, to be my “TV night” for this week. It was nice to catch up on some of the shows I like. I laughed out loud at The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Modern Family. I cried during PanAm. I cried during How I Met Your Mother, if I’m being honest. I enjoyed the gentle, peaceful, inspiring entertainment of 19 Kids & Counting. (Okay, I cried during that one, too.) I got sucked into a show about hoarding, predictably found myself with an anxious stomach ache, and thanked God for my home.
It was nice. It was nice to laugh. It was nice to cry.
But the sum total of the evening? I didn’t like it.
It made me feel like I was in a hurry. No time to make a green smoothie; I might miss something. Or I might not have time to watch everything I want to watch. No need to go to bed when I’m tired; I can watch another episode. With the exception of one unplanned show, I watched exactly what I most wanted to watch last night. And yet, “what I most wanted to watch” edged out the quiet and peace that I am somewhat uncomfortable with, but I am realizing how much I need it.
When friends ask me if I’ve seen the latest episode of The Bachelor or Revenge, I am embarrassed to say no. But when I think about who I really am, who I really want to be, I am embarrassed to be honest about how much time I have spent sucked into a bright, expensive rectangle in my living room.