Thing’s I Learned From my Night with a TV

My daughter’s friend decided to ride her choochoo train down the stairs. The result of this thrill-ride, was pain, I assume. Especially as she has spent much of the past few days in-and-out of the hospital, getting her little arm put back together again. I have been inspired to remove all “riding” toys away from staircases without baby gates.

My daughter is only friends with this little girl because I am friends with her parents. So, in actuality I should have said “My friend’s daughter decided to. . . ” They go to our small-group, which makes me thankful that I rather like their family. Because I am a good person I decided to offer my “babysitting” services tonight after my good friend/neighbor/family, Jill, has already babysat for them twice. Actually, I think it was more so because I was jealous that Jill would get all the credit for being a good person, and I none. If you read the Bible, you know that any such prideful motive results in no reward. Still, I didn’t get nothing out of this.

I got to watch TV. The real thing. Not Hulu, my typical computer TV fare, or even watching a DVD on a TV. It was real TV where you lounge around and change channels and stuff. If you know me, you know I don’t do this because we don’t have a TV which is usable as a TV. If you know us well, you know that we don’t want such a vile instrument of evil in our home. Or at minimum, we don’t want to pay the money and are too lazy to get said vile instrument of evil working in our house. Whatever. In otherwords, don’t watch TV much.

TV is a window to the world. Its a dab slower than the super-sonic internet (that we do have). Unlike the Internet, with the whole world at your fingertips, TV filters the world so you don’t have overwhelming choices. You just sit there, fumble your fingers over a ‘hookie‘ (i.e., remote control), and someone else chooses what you download into your brain. And this is what I learned from such a spectacular window on the boob-tube:

Samoa is actually a territory of the United States! Well, part of Samoa is. Recently, their economy was devastated thanks to SunKisk’s corporate value system. Also, a few months ago they had an 8.1 earthquake, resulting in a small, but deadly tsunami. Poor Samoa, how did I not even know?! But they do have some good things going for them. 200 of their 500,000 people play at least division one football (which is really good, right?)! I am no mathematician, but there seems to be some major connection between football and Samoa. I got to watch a really cool haka war-dance they do for football practice warm-ups, similar to the haka I learned when in Fiji. Fjij and Samoa are relatively close, which is probably the only reason this caught my attention.

The Golden Globe Awards give awards for both TV shows, and movies. Watching them is like getting media review of the last year. After watching them I am officially current on my popular culture. I can tell you who had a funky dress, who cried, and what movies the rest of the planet considers worth seeing that maybe I should see (you know, just to keep from sounding like an idiot). I grew up in California, which is where the awards took place. Maybe this is the reason this caught my attention.

Did you know I like the name Penelope? Its so, well, confusingly fun to say. Penelope. Penelope! I think she is one of the most beautiful actresses, along with all the rest of them. Did you know Penelope Cruz is sometimes insecure? Of course! She is also very stubborn, thinks Tom Cruise is treated wrongly (we share an opinion) and grew up in the outskirts of Madrid! I was near where Penelope grew up when I was in Madrid, which is probably the reason she caught my attention.

Some dude thinks we should be happy that we can’t control the weather, even though the people in Florida have frozen oranges. I too have been to Florida a really long time ago, which is probably the only reason this caught my attention. My brain is becoming a frozen orange popsicle.

Yet Haiti, Haiti caught my attention for a whole different reason, not because there was sometime I was nearby or some other frame of reference. My heart breaks for Haiti, just like I want it to for those few unheard of in Samoa who’s lives were also ruined a few months ago, even if there are 1/100 of the amount of people. Although I keep up with the news, and have seen my fair-share of pictures of the disaster, I haven’t really watched any TV clips of it until tonight. Watching doctors amputate appendages with saws they found and sterilized with vodka, and seeing bodies piled in the streets, being picked up by earth-movers is surreal. As always, I contemplate the horrors that others experience and cry for a thousand reasons. You might feel those reasons too, or surely we share at least one or two of the thoughts on the issue. My fear is not just that Haitians are dying without the help they need, but that those in less heard of crisis’s around the globe will also suffer, as we will stop any assistance to others in need. Need is always great. There is no shortage of it.

My TV watching evening is over and I have gleaned some random knowledge, while relaxing a little and maintaining indifference to our own TV ownership (or lack thereof). Besides feeling like this is the time to proclaim my innocence, that I was not a bad babysitter as their daughter was sleeping the entire time of my stay- I should also note that in this life we can’t protect ourselves forever. We try to live the good life, enjoying our TV shows, making money, havin‘ babies to watch TV other shows. There is nothing wrong with wanting comfort. But there is something wrong when we are so comfortable we forget to love God and love God by loving others. There is something wrong when we think we can keep ourselves from the bad things, and the unexpected things. We treat ourselves like overprotective parents, sitting in emotional and physical safety-nets while guarding our rights, our happiness, and our money (as if we deserve any of it). And maybe we do deserve it. We deserve the worst reward, comfort in this life alone. Instead, lets challenge ourselves to not just watch the world around us on our TV sets (or whatever characterizes your safety-net of comfort and relaxation). We must always be aware of the greater world around us, as lives never cease to be at stake.

He has showed you, O man, what is good.

And what does the LORD require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 (New International Version)

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