Thus begins the season of Lent, for liturgically minded Christians throughout the world. A period increased prayer and observance, marked by self-afflicted suffering. As a youth, said suffering did not take the form of abstaining from chocolate or meat - like my Catholic friends - but rather by an additional church service each Wednesday evening. Lent brings to mind, more than anything, memories of bland soup suppers and forced conversations with elderly members of my church. Honestly, I can remember little of the services themselves save for wishing I were elsewhere, playing basketball with friends, or even doing homework.
Perhaps my greatest desire, though, was to be home watching television. TV was my constant companion, growing up as a latch-key kid. I would come home from school, or sporting events, or rehearsals, turn on an episode of the Simpsons, and know I was home.
It’s not that I was (or am) particularly inactive or non-social, but rather that TV was (and is) my means of relaxing. At the end of a long work day, it remains a pretty easy means of tuning out and resting up. In and of itself, I don’t think this is such a terrible thing. But it is a terrible waste of time. And has become too much of an escape. Television is, in short, my constant comfort and companion and my greatest vice. (A boring one, to be sure)
And so for this Lenten season, I’ve decided to give it up. To rededicate myself to reading and theological study, to music and exercise. It’s not so much that I have particular goals and aims, as I’m interested in seeing what will happen when I reclaim this time for something else.
I suspect I will either mark a period of increased productivity and creativity, or a time of wandering sadness - of a humorous sort.