When I was a kid, we had a console TV set.
It was big.
It was heavy.
It was also hideous, wrapped in faux wood that looked like my friend Kim’s station wagon. When I close my eyes to picture the thing, the memories come wrapped in an avocado haze.
(Design tip: guacamole is a snack, not a wall color.)
Maybe it’s the impact of the 80s color scheme, but I don’t remember much about that time of my life. There were candy cigarettes. Big League Chew. Garbage Pail Kids (gross).
Oh – and the TV.
Remotes, of course, weren’t a thing yet. This meant four year old me had to rappel down the velour couch, pad across the living room floor, and mash one of the small rectangular buttons under the desired channel number.
This was difficult, precisely because I was not quite old enough to press the buttons with enough force.
Sometimes the fob wouldn’t go all the way in.
And then, I would die.
A black and white blizzard descended, accompanied by the most terrifying static a preschooler could experience. The noise was like a neurotoxin, zapping my mobility and tiny will to live until some unknown force propelled me forward, spurring me to jab a desperate, shaking finger at channel 26 (save me, Big Bird!).
Thirty four years later and I’m in the same darn boat.
Static. On every. Single. Channel. Pounding me during the day; pursuing me at night.
Like this post. I’ve been trying to write it for days. Now here I am, hours before my deadline, still banging my head against the keyboard and begging something – anything – to spill out onto the screen.
I have nothing left to give.
And I brought it on myself.
At some point this fall, I let fly the strands of my prayer life.
Like Whitman’s spider, I “launched forth filament, filament, filament”:
“And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.”
My soul was catching somewhere, that’s for sure.
On social media.
On the desire for accolades and honors.
And if I’m being honest, probably on ice cream, too.
I was seeking my spheres, desperate to connect them, reaching for that undefinable peace that only He can give.
But only the noise broke through. Where my soul longed to be filled with God’s presence, I filled the space with distractions and false promises, searching for the Thing That Would Make Me Whole.
Like most epiphanies, I was standing in the kitchen, broom in hand, when it hit me:
Lo, you were within,
but I outside, seeking there for you,
and upon the shapely things you have made
I rushed headlong – I, misshapen.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
They held me back far from you,
those things which would have no being,
were they not in you.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness;
you flared, blazed, banished my blindness;
you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst;
you touched me, and I burned for your peace.
Our solace does not come from the distractions of this world. They are sound and fury, signifying nothing, granting the illusion of fulfillment as they strip away our peace.
Oh God, we are your daughters. We pine and burn for your peace.
Call, shout, break through our deafness.
Flare, blaze, banish our blindness.
Late, late have I loved you.
It’s time to unplug the TV.