On Wednesday, I returned home from Costco with something that must have confused everyone else in line at the store. It made really apparent to me the privilege I have. I truly am the person I hate most in this world – the one whose financial situation allows for luxuries in the middle of chaos. What could have I have possibly purchased to bring out this horrifying realization in me? A television.
That’s right. I bought a TV in the middle of a pandemic.
Why did I do this? Well let’s talk about it.
First, yes, my family is in a secure enough financial position to afford a TV. We are not afraid of this pandemic as far as money goes in part because my wife and I are both still working. I have been working from home for nearly three years so nothing has changed in that regard despite some fears about hours, and Darby has continued to teach her class online. So in these uncertain times, we are probably better off than most people.
Second, we have been interested in getting a TV for a couple months now. This brings up a couple questions… Did we not have a TV before? And why now of all times?? The answer to the first question is no, we did not have a TV before. We have intentionally kept it out of our lives in order to spend more time doing other things, like reading and playing card games with each other. The reason we opted to get one now is because we have to stay home and having something like that could provide us some entertainment in the coming weeks and months. And as I said, we were planning on getting one anyway because I am a youth pastor and a TV is kind of essential for having students over for any reason. So we chose right now.
Third, we felt it was time to change. Spending the money on this TV was one of the more difficult decisions I have ever made. Could this money have been used to help those less fortunate? Yes, but we have enough money to do that as well. Is a TV really necessary? No, but it was something my wife and I agreed that we wanted, and that doesn’t come around all the time, especially when it comes to big purchases. We have decided that this change of lifestyle is an important at this time in our lives, pandemics aside.
This has been a tough inner battle for me for the reasons mentioned above and also because of where I came from. I spent my childhood around a TV. I played video games multiple hours a day and watched sports any time I’ve had cable to access it. The TV was an idol for me in the past.
Now is time for a change. I have been without a TV for nearly three years of marriage and I spent hardly any time using it through four years of college. Having a TV and consuming its content in moderation is the task of my current life. I’m grown up enough to not let it steal all of my attention. Most importantly, my daughter is going to grow up in a world with TVs. Hiding her from that reality will not prepare her for when she is older; helping her learn moderation will.
So yes, I bought a TV in the middle of a pandemic. Sometimes change comes at the weirdest of times.