This year for Lent I have chosen to give up watching television. This should be a bit easier for me than last year’s Lent experiment, but this will still take some effort because I am a binge TV watcher. I won’t watch for a while, but will suddenly find a show on Netflix that I must finish watching all 6 seasons of in one week.
That show for me this year is Bones. I’m a sucker for off-beat crime procedurals, rife with sexual tension between the two main characters (I loved The X-Files too). I even had a Mardi Gras Bones marathon that began the Saturday before Lent. I got all the way through season 3, and finished the Yanks in the U.K. episodes of season 4. Spoiler alert (even though I’m way behind on this show): I can’t believe Angela and Hodgins broke up! As is revealed by this last statement, I can get way too caught up in the lives of fictional characters and not pay enough attention to living human beings.
I’ve only been on the TV fast for a few days, but I’m already noticing some positive benefits. I feel more restful. It’s strange, but I didn’t realize how much silence can do a body good. I never realized that the constant noise of the TV is what could possibly be making me anxious. I have many times turned on the TV, just as background noise while folding laundry or even reading. Some households that I have visited lately, never seem to turn the TV off. It is always there, beckoning a part of your attention, even when you are trying to have a conversation or eat a meal together. Not having the TV on at all here has created this nice, warm pocket of silence that feels like that peace that surpasses all understanding.
I’ve also become more productive. When watching TV isn’t an option, time seems limitless. I’ve been wanting to do some in-depth Bible study for a while, and I now I actually have the time to do it. I feel as if I’ve found this black-hole portal to a dimension where I have time to clean my house, write four blog posts, read a chapter in my esoteric N.T. Wright book, read the book of John, and grade papers, all in the same day. I’m also finding the time to write notes of encouragement, which I’m sad to say, is sorely needed when I know of so many who’ve lost loved ones.
I’ve also rediscovered good old board games. Instead of watching a movie, Ted and I played Trivial Pursuit (I won’t tell you who won because I’m still sore about it). We had a great time making fun of the questions and learning about things neither of us thought the other knew.
I still have several weeks to go, but I’m predicting that the time-sucker that is TV will not be missed by me.