Confessions of a Missionary: I Am Addicted to Television

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My Old Friend

This week will be a pretty emotional one for me but it doesn’t have anything to do with Thanksgiving.  On Saturday I will say goodbye to the item that for more than fourteen years has become a most prized possession…my television set.

Now I understand a lot of people wouldn’t be emotionally attached to their TV, but in my case this is definitely true because countless hours of my life have been spent in front of it.  In a deeper sense however those television programs became a social life for me instead of entertainment as I envisioned myself in the programs as a teenager, and tried to pattern my life by them as a young adult.  Sadly since I’m kind of introverted when meeting new friends I preferred watching television to hanging out with other people (the TV didn’t make me feel uncomfortable).

I am grateful the Lord has helped me develop confidence when dealing with these fears, and shown that we are created to interact with other people instead of a TV screen (I’ve been a recovering TV addict for about eight years).  This week makes me think about my former addiction because the television given to me on my twenty-second birthday will be retired (and replaced by a new model).  With that in mind I would like to write a goodbye letter to the item that has been such a huge part of my life.

Editors Note:  Please note there will be high amounts of sarcasm in this letter, please don’t take anything I write literally

Dear  Television,

I will never forget the year mom and dad gave you to me for my birthday, my brother had been given one just like you for his a few months before, and I had given a few subtle (okay so they weren’t subtle) hints including what model to buy, and where.  There is a picture somewhere of me that night with a huge smile on my face holding up the huge birthday cookie my parents made…of course you and I know the smile wasn’t about the cookie don’t we?

My Senior year of College when I got burned out and found it hard to care about class anymore you where there with afternoon re-runs of the A-Team to sustain me.  The summer after Graduation when my heart was broken you where there with the X-Files; I mean seriously who needs a girlfriend when you can have science fiction programs? (Please refer to editors note)

When God closed the door to a Mission field and I had no idea what His plan for my life was you responded with episodes of Alf, and ER.  When I was working at a desk job instead of getting involved with Missions you gave Dark Shadows (not the ridiculous movie, the TV program from the 1970s).  The day after I retired from the desk job and started doing deputation full time you introduced me to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  When the support didn’t come in the way it was supposed to, you allowed me to indulge in old episodes of 24.  And when my first Visa was rejected you where there to entertain (and confuse) me with episodes of Lost or Alias.

Looking back on it now I can see we had some really awesome times buddy and you were always there when I needed you.  However that’s really the problem…you became an easy way for me to escape situations that made me uncomfortable (like being single, God changing his plan, support raising, ext).  Sure you made me feel good for that half hour or so, but in the long run it didn’t really help anything, in fact you just made it worse.

Don’t worry old friend this isn’t goodbye forever.  It’s just that about seven years ago I realized we were spending way too much time together and it was getting unhealthy.  So as you are moved out of my bedroom this Saturday and replaced by a new television I promise not to cry…but I can’t promise to forget all of the good times 🙂

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John Wilburn

Church planter, teacher, and disciple-maker in Barrouallie St. Vincent

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