On recent Saturday mornings, my son Eli and I have been watching The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon on Netflix. Most recently we watched a bunch of episodes of the Marvel show WandaVision on Disney+. After that I would sometimes watch an episode or two of Law & Order.
But now I won’t be doing any of that until after Easter.
Now, I confess that I know exactly what it’s like to spend a few—maybe even several?—hours watching TV, and then afterwards having this feeling of, well, waste.
More specifically, it’s the feeling that my time spent passively enjoying a show didn’t really add anything to my life. I might very well have enjoyed it, but I don’t take anything away of value. At least most of the time.
But when I use that same time to read or perhaps work on a blog post, my mind and my heart are more actively engaged. I get something from it. It adds something to my life, to my day, to my imagination, to my sense of accomplishment. It has value beyond the time spent doing it.
Don’t get me wrong. I probably will return to watching superhero cartoons with Eli once Lent is over. Indeed, I love doing that with him. I will probably also watch other kinds of TV again.
At the same time, I hope and pray that my experience of Lent—and of fasting from TV—will change my attitude and my habits.
In the meantime, I will take full advantage of not watching TV to do other things that are both enjoyable and life-giving.