Monday, October 13, 2008

Welcome Relief

For years I lived without a TV. Despite having grown up with a little B&W set that got the Canadian public stations and a very fuzzy PBS from upstate NY, I spent most of my adult life TV-free. I just preferred to read, and found my life to be generally more fulfilling without the distraction that only TV offers.

That all ended with Hurricane Katrina. My friend was horrified to learn that I had endured the hurricane sans a set, and insisted on giving me one that was collecting dust in his apartment. Why TV was essential during a hurricane was beyond me, since once I had the set, it proceeded to die almost as soon as the subsequent hurricanes were even remotely within my vicinity. But whatever. I consequently inherited a set, and a colour one, no less.

Over the past year, despite my having only two shows that I consistently watched in my roster, the TV was frequently playing a bit each evening. I was in turn wondering just a few weeks ago during the 10 days whether I should just give up TV; how was it enhancing my life spiritually? I remembered how, while I was sitting shiva for my father, olev shalom, my husband (then fiance) had taken the set to the back room and closed the door, so that his friends from Kew Garden Hills wouldn't get the wrong impression of me. After all, to have a TV???? What type of yeshivish person was I?

Despite my combined mirth and annoyance when I remember that incident, I acknowledge that prior to my receiving the said TV set, my evenings were filled with learning. I designated an hour a day to different topics: parshah, midrash, mussar, etc. In contrast, this past year it was a struggle to get the koach to turn off the set and turn my attention to the books I bought months ago without cracking open.

So I was quite relieved when, this past Sunday, my husband came and took the set to his father's. True, I had, since Rosh Hashana, made a point of ending my day with learning, so that my day started and ended with Torah. But to have the set out of the house? That just provided fuel to my spiritual fire. Because when you get right down to it, you have to decide where you want your focus in life to be. For me, at least for the time being, I want my focus to be on spiritual improvement. Granted, who knows how long it may be before my focus shifts. But until then, I can relish in the idea that I got an inkling and Hashem helped facilitate my following through on it. When something like that happens so blatantly, you can't help but be inspired.

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