I confessed some time ago that one of my biggest weaknesses is TV. I called it my Kryptonite. I was kind of joking, or so I thought. I didn't realize how much of an addict I was until it was gone.
In May, our family drove to North Carolina to visit with my family. The main purpose of this trip was to pick up my grandmother's piano and bring it back to our home. We had been talking about pianos for years. Being in the military makes having a piano a bit tricky so we had not made the effort to acquire one. We kept making excuses. From the moment we moved into this house I knew the perfect spot for a piano. It was also the perfect spot for our big screen TV.
So it was that nearly 2 months ago our TV and all its accessories moved to our bedroom and the Piano took its place.
I love having a piano. Really. Don't think for one second that I am even considering a trade-back. I now spend a portion of every day plunking away at it, getting my fingers used to playing again, going over hymns for the choir to sing, just plain enjoying the music. I don't even mind the kids banging on it (and they all do!) It is like a long lost member of the family.
I still watch a little TV in my room. So I haven't given it up completely. But the changes over the past few months have been startling.
For one thing I see myself differently. I didn't expect that. I didn't know I was being so influenced by TV. Apparently I was under the impression that I needed to look and act a certain way because of my age or place in life or whatever. I felt terrible pressure to be better than I am in a superficial sort of way. I didn't act on those feelings. Well, not exactly. I realize now that I was feeling bad about my appearance every time I left the house. I felt embarrassed by my size, shape, hair color, hair style, lack of make-up, clothing choices, shoe choices, pretty much everything. I didn't feel that self-conscious in high school!
Exit TV. Now I fell great. I am fine with myself. I know I can improve in some ways but they are my choice now. I am no longer feeling sorry for the people who have to look at me. I don't feel overwhelmed by pressure to be perfect.
I also see other people differently. I don't see them as judging me any more. I didn't realize how much I thought others were looking down on me. I felt isolated and resentful for no real reason.
There have been a few unexpected withdrawal issues though. In the past, I rarely folded a shirt or mated a sock without sitting in front of the TV. In the past, these chores, while frequent, were not not really a burden to me. I was able to be entertained while I worked. Now I struggle through this tedious chore.
I have tried listening to books on CD and that has helped some. But I still long to sit on the couch and fold or sort while I watch a movie. I used to plan my day around this. "I will fold that load at 2:00 when this show come on" or "I want to watch this movie. I will wait until that load is dry so I can fold while I watch." Now I just put it off as long as I can.
These two changes alone have been a cold-water shock. I have realized just how deeply I was addicted. I can see how entwined into my life this creature really was. I suddenly want to rid myself and my family of all the worldly influences in our lives. I am trying not to overreact. At the same time, I keep thinking of the slow, slight methods of Satan. 2 Nephi give a few examples; "others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security...and leadeth them away carefully down to hell."(28:21) "he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever." (26:22) I also can't help but think of the counsel of President James E. Faust who said "He can have no power over us unless we permit it." Is that what I have done? Have I permitted Satan to enter our home through his subtle means and lead us away from God? Have I given him power over me? I think I can only answer yes.
In a less menacing way, I feel like those people in Wall-e. I realize instead of living I have been letting time pass. I have forgotten many of the things that bring me happiness in place of things that bring pleasure...mindless, meaningless pleasure. And like any drug, I need a bigger dose to get my fix the next time.
I am still recovering form this addiction. I know that I could fall off the wagon if I am not careful. I know that I could easily allow this seemingly benign object to become the major influence in my life again. I know it isn't the only danger either.
I challenge you to take a look at your life and see if there is something like this in your life. Try giving it up for a while and see what happens. I warn you it might be hard and even humbling. Sometimes it takes a dose of nasty medicine to realize how sick we really were.