This week, I didn’t cheat. Exactly. I abstained from TV for five days. Then I started watching TV on Friday night, thinking that I would allow myself TV for 24 hours, and turn off the TV by 6:30 or so on Saturday night.
Which isn’t exactly the deal.
Also, I didn’t do that. It was more like 27 hours. Minus sleeping, of course, but again, that wasn’t the deal.
So…better than last week…but not quite fully faithful.
I’m to a point where I just want this to be over.
This week, I’m thinking that the thing you give up for Lent teaches you more about your relationship with that thing than it teaches you about your relationship with God.
I already knew that I experience TV in two ways: I enjoy it for entertainment, or I use it as a numbing behavior. Right now, I just want this to be over because I’m craving some good strong numbing behavior. I’m trying to make some decisions about which direction to go in several areas of my life…and I’m so, so tired of the weight of these decisions. I’m tired of not really having any gut feelings about them, tired of seeing too many choices and no excitement or passion in any of them, tired of the back-and-forth of changing my mind in a matter of hours.
That’s just…adulthood. Part of the process of making big decisions. Eventually, you have what you need to make the decision. Doors close or open. Gut feelings emerge. Passion ignites where it’s suppose to. This chaos-plus-apathy is just an uncomfortable but necessary step toward getting there.
And I want a break from it.
So, that’s the part of this experience that I already knew about. TV is what I often use to take a break from my feelings. Numbing behavior.
Here’s some new learning: TV is pretty much the only numbing behavior I have right now. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Do I want numbing behaviors in my life? Is it unreasonable to expect myself to go through life without some way to take a break from everything? Is “numbing behavior” another word for “coping strategy?” There are other things I do that I would call “coping strategies,” such as exercise or doing something social or even sitting through an orchestra rehearsal. But they don’t have the same immediate relief. Also, they’re more effective in actually helping to process the feelings and issues, whereas TV gives me a temporary reprieve and leaves me at the exact same point when I return to the feelings. So it’s a different kind of thing.
Still, the experience continues.