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  • Sarah Raad

Television

It is only in surrender to the Holy Will of God that I shall have any peace…

Christ Healing the Blind (El Greco, Domenikos Theotokopoulos)

I have always worked from home since I have had my children. At first – while I was employed rather than working entirely for myself – I only worked part of the time from home, but later, when transitioned to working for myself, I was working from home full-time.


One of the problems for mothers who work from home full time – in my experience – is how to entertain their children during the long working days and nights. After all, nobody is going to pay you for your time if you are spending that time on childcare rather than on the work at hand. And so, I – with my children – have spent many many years fine-tuning this process of working from home. In many ways this has served me as an advantage during the long months of the latest lockdown caused by the COVID-19 when many other poor parents were struggling with working around their children while their children were in the home.


Because I was learning as I went along, there were many different things that I tried to entertain the children while I worked. At first, I used to let them sit and watch television while I worked. It seemed like the easiest solution. You see – the television is entertaining, and the children can sit for ages in front of it without causing too much trouble in the moment...


But there were problems with that option. Firstly, the television was okay in the moment, but I found that when I turned it off the children had a lot of pent-up frustration and energy, which simply resulted in them becoming more difficult to manage afterwards. The other problem with the television as a babysitter, is that I found a strong positive correlation between the amount of television my children watched and the number of nightmares that they had – at least when they were younger. And thirdly – for some strange reason that I have never been able to understand – while my children watch television, they lose control over their feet and simply throw all their rubbish and toys all over the floor instead of standing up to pack them away.


The end-result of all of this is that the children would get into trouble after I finished my work…


And so, I decided to take the rather revolutionary step of banning television for my children while I am working. Now at first, they did not like this idea at all. In fact, I would go so far as to say that they staged a revolt. Lucky for them – I held all the trump cards… I could confiscate the remote controls, unplug the television and pack the cable where they could not reach it and turn it back on. Of course, that was during the early days when my children did not know how to work the electricity and were too small to reach things that I packed away. And later – because they realised that I had won the first battle and would likely win all the rest – they stopped trying to resist me and they accepted my will in the matter!

I have been reflecting on this action with the television as I have been reflecting on the Holy Will of God…

You see, sometimes God too makes a revolutionary move and takes something away from me – like the television – that I think I really need to have. And when He does that often I get ready to revolt and sometimes I even try it…


Sometimes I get tired of praying for the same intentions over and over again and waiting what feels like an endless age for God to do NOT as He wills, but as I will. And now – as I reflect on the tantrums of my children during those early days in relation to the television – I am ashamed to realise that I am pretty much the same as they are with my Beloved. Just as my children tried to work against my actions – which were for their greater good and protection – so too do I try to work against God.


And how futile is that? No wonder when I try to do such things, I become tired and overwhelmed and impatient! No wonder when I try to do such things, I become angry and insular and isolated!


For God is more powerful than me. God is more powerful than everyone and everything – because God created all things… This means that if something is not granted to me as I ask for it, God Himself has taken the remote controls, unplugged the television and hidden the cables. And because God is perfect LOVE – He has done such a thing for LOVE of me… For with FAITH I realise that if I received exactly what I wanted, I would become upset, afraid and punished.


There is something terrible and wonderful in knowing that.


For what an infinitely terribly-perfect love of the Father for me in willingly restricting me for love of me despite my complaints and impatience and my abuse of Him through sin.


And so, though I am ashamed, I pray for the Grace to move past the feeling of revolt and towards the peace of surrender…


For it is only in surrender to the Holy Will of God that I shall have any peace…


Only through surrender…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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