Let’s take a trip down memory lane…
Where were you in 1996?
That year the original “Independence Day” with Will Smith topped the box office, the Nintendo 64 was on Christmas lists, and we were all learning the moves to dance along to the Macarena. The most popular TV shows were Ally McBeal, Friends, The X Files and Will and Grace.
That summer these two got married.
At that time there the internet (dial-up AOL anybody?!) was brand new and television was the biggest time waster we had to contend with. Andrew and I wanted to start our marriage off on the right foot. I didn’t really care about TV and Drew said he was a TV addict. We knew what we needed to do… We would NOT own a TV.
Through the years we have been offered a half dozen or more free televisions. We’ve stood awkwardly quiet during conversations about the “it show” of the moment, mispronounced actors’ names we’d only read, and been stared at with wide-eyed looks and gaping mouths.
It’s 2016 and it’s time.
This is probably the easiest time ever to buy a television because life doesn’t revolve around the screen in the middle of the room anymore. For the first few years of our marriage we spent our evenings playing games, reading books, hanging with friends and even coloring (before adult coloring was cool!) When there was a special event like the Olympics or the Super Bowl we’d simply borrow a television or go to a friend’s house to watch it.
The computer DVD drive was a game-changer. We could watch the movies we wanted to watch- in the basement- so it wasn’t the center of our lives. We had a toddler, so escaping to the basement became our date night.
Through the years watching movies on the computer has become easier with the ability to watch any number of shows via services like Amazon and Netflix. And then there’s the phone. And the Ipad. And the other Ipad. And the other two phones.
Strangely enough having a big screen in the middle of the room makes more sense than ever before because we spend quite enough time on our own little screens.
Little Screens, Little Foxes
Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom.” Song of Solomon 2:15
The original reason we decided NOT to have a television was to keep our communication going- to stay close as a couple. We had no idea the type of technology that would be developed over the course of 20 years that would fill that hole. Okay, flood that hole. Drift happens without effort. Tech is an easy button.
The Way of Wisdom
“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.” Proverb 8:12
With now having a 17 year-old and a 10-year-old it has come to our attention that there are cultural and general knowledge gaps in our children’s education… Also known as, “What in the world is going on?!” TV is a great way to catch the news headlines and and become generally an informed citizen. We also have come to believe owning a television now is crucial so it does not become an idol for our kids… or a reason to rebel. Living without a TV then suddenly hitting adulthood with no experience in how to make an informed choice. We are still working through this and they figured out that fangdangled remote WAY faster than I
did still am.
Grace on the Wall
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector…” Luke 18:9-11
In a strange way for me the TV is a reminder of pride in process of being buried. It is easy to wear differentness or “what-I-don’t-do” as a spiritual badge. In this season I feel having a television is a reminder of God’s grace. I do not have a faith that is about what I’m giving up, but about living. (And heaven knows I’ve got plenty of other issues.)
So here it is; that big black 43-inch box made its way on the wall at the Switala house. Never in a million years… and yet probably a little too late.