Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Peaceful in the Quiet


Thou hast created us for Thyself, and our heart is not quiet until it rests in Thee. ~Saint Augustine

My husband mentioned something to me this morning that I have also been feeling myself. Ever since the 40-day fast, we have enjoyed quiet...true quiet. We had our TV service turned off just before the fast, but that was not all of it.

We often would listen to talk radio too and, of course, Christian stations also. He was saying that since the fast, he has enjoyed quiet. He does not listen to much radio, just a few minutes a day periodically. He likes music playing softly in the evenings at times, but even then not as much as we used to do.

I told him that it was strange because I have been feeling the exact same thing. I am far more at peace with quiet, not looking to turn on something producing sound, and far more in peace when it is quiet. I think I listened to ten minutes of radio all this week. I find that I am less inclined to yell when things are making me upset. I am more inclined to think of a way to respond more positively. I am not telling the dog, cat, or child to move because one of them is in the way between the remote and the TV or yelling at them to quiet down (so counterproductive and ironic, that) so I can hear a show or the news. Why did I ever treated them as if they were less important to me than what I might be missing on TV or the radio?

Now I am wondering....was I using these things to drown out the noise in my mind, and, in so doing, adding more noise, tension, and stress in my mind, in my home? Did I create a no-win situation where all the things I used in an effort to achieve escapism were actually trapping me into the need to escape even more? Worse: Was I trying to drown out God too? (I have to be honest here, I knew down deep that I was even when it was not intentional, but was it really ever unintentional?)

Our TV service allows us to turn it off six months out of the year. It is scheduled to come back on the week before Christmas, but we have said we will probably turn it on before Thanksgiving. I am not sure what we will do after Christmas exactly yet. Maybe we will leave it on as it will be dark and cold outside so early in the evening and we will limit ourselves from watching much. Maybe we will save the money and just turn it off for good...?

A couple more thoughts:

Isn't watching TV a rather selfish indulgence? Not that we should never enjoy anything and not that we should never watch TV just for fun sometimes, but it is the amount of it, as well as content. I wonder if we purposely use it to artificially fill an emptiness in ourselves which would be better filled by serving God and other people.

How does watching hours of TV each day associate with living in the Kingdom, or at least are preparing our souls to be living in the Kingdom? Are we going to expect heaven to be a place where we are constantly entertained? Let's be honest here! We, most likely, have some expectation along those lines, because we would naturally tend to associate what brings us pleasure here as what will bring us pleasure in heaven.

I thought I was pretty strict with the TV before, but when I stepped away from it completely, I realized that the pleasure it provides is not lasting nor genuine and more often it adds tension in my home and pushes God aside. With a better perspective on how it affects my family, I will be far more careful with it in the future.

~ My Lord, thank you for the agreement my husband and I, and even our daughter, share in regards to enjoying the quiet and having peace in it. ~

2 comments:

  1. Seeking: it will come as no surprise that I loathe the t.v. Dearest has a bad habit of turning it on as soon as he gets up ~ which means I almost immediately remove myself from the vicinity. It's constant noise really upsets my soul. Not that I never watch ~ but so rarely that it's hard for it to hold my attention & I usually walk away from a program about halfway through. The only thing I turn on is the computer but I remove myself even from its gentle buzz when I want to talk to God. We are always trying to find something less demanding than God to fill the empty spaces in our souls but are never satisfied. {For me it used to be reading} Quiet, stillness, silence ~ these minister to the deep hurts of the spirit & are immeasurably healing.

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  2. There was a time, when I was in pain with my back (so I can understand your husband's attraction, Ganeida), that I would turn on the TV in the morning to old classic movies and watch it as I cross-stitched practically all day long. When you cannot do much else, TV is such a blessing to occupy yourself, but when I got better, I just naturally began disliking the TV on in the morning at all, although my husband used to check the weather reports that way. This, of course, was before there was much of an Internet and we did not have access. It just seems to me that once it is on, it stays on.

    In the last few years, unless someone is ill, the TV rarely gets turned on until after 4:00 PM, but, again, once on, it rarely gets turned off. I think that we shall be handling that part a bit differently in the future, at least, I hope so.

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.