From the Heart: Hand Me the Remote

Think of your favorite TV show. Really think. Not just any TV show but one that you would do anything not to miss.

Now imagine that you are finishing a long day. You’re leaving your office, which used to be your dining room before COVID. Now nothing looks the same.

You’re looking forward to unwinding and relaxing.

You have your heart set on watching whatever it is that brings you whatever you need. Adventure. Comedy. Romance. News. Sports. We are all unique in our oneness.

You’ve poured your favorite beverage. You’ve either already eaten, or maybe you are enjoying a snack in your most comfortable chair. You reach for the remote, and hit the power button.

Nothing. You hit it again. Nothing still.

You may begin to experience feelings that do not feel all that comfortable. Frustration. Disappointment. Maybe even anger.

It may be like praying for something you don’t receive. You ask for it again, just like you keep hitting the power button on the remote. When it still doesn’t respond, you become irritated. God, or the Universe, isn’t listening. They are not cooperating.

Now you jump into action. You begin to wonder if there’s another way you can get what you want. You check to see if the battery in the remote needs to be replaced. You start hitting more than one button at a time, wondering why it’s not helping.

Life can be like that. We don’t get what we want. So we stomp our feet. We may push someone’s buttons to get whatever we believe will make us feel happy or complete, or we let them push ours. When things stay the same, or get worse, we may lose faith. Is there really even a God at all?

Wait — there it is. Something appears on the screen. The remote is working after all.

You have no idea how it happened — but you’re so grateful. Your favorite show is just about to begin. However, you miss the first few minutes because you’ve been rehashing what just happened with the remote in your mind.

You’ve always hated that thing — too many buttons. All you wanted was to relax and be entertained. Instead you were challenged, which may have lead you to feel that way about something in your personal life you cannot control. You become so agitated with every unfolding moment that you don’t see what’s happening in front of you.

You hit the rewind button. Just like you can keep replaying old messages and stories in your mind, you can return to scenes that you missed from a TV show because you were too distracted to see them the first time. Before long, though, you find yourself fast-forwarding into the future.

Even though the remote started working again now, you better get new batteries for the next time. What if you don’t have money for the cable bill, and you can’t watch anything whether your TV remote is working or not? What if the cancer returns?

Finally, you decide to just let it play out. C’est la vie. If you miss a few minutes here and there you’ll get caught up, or figure it out. It’s your favorite show, after all.

Then the phone rings. It’s your mother. She never calls this late. Better hit pause.

As you talk to her, you want to listen to what she’s saying — but you can’t stop focusing on the frozen screen in front of you. What was about to happen?

Maybe you paused before the final touchdown, or just as the Jeopardy contestant was about to answer. Maybe the weather was about to be revealed. Suddenly what you’re missing on the screen in front of you seems so much more important than talking to your loved one right here.

If only she didn't repeat the same story six times without commercial interruption. If only you had more patience. Other people do.

So you talk to her, and it feels good ... or not. We all come home in different moods with different needs and wants from our long days at “the office" of life.

Back to the show.

You’re having a little trouble hearing it. You reach for the remote again. Closed captioning is just the answer you need.

Life is like that, too. Sometimes we have to get a little help with our communication skills ... how we speak and listen to each other. What programming is needed for us to truly hear how important something is to the tender heart of another human and divine being? It’s all in our internal remote.

When do we hit “stop”? Or “delete”? Sometimes our favorite TV shows begin to change — and we take action. Maybe a new character, storyline or host is introduced — and we just can’t take a liking to them. Maybe the outcome becomes too predictable. We lose interest ... or give up hope.

Life is like that, as well. We see it happening all around us in the riveting, radical, all-too-real reality show unfolding in front of our very eyes and hearts.

My blessing this week is for all of us to use the power of our remotes wisely. They are the only ones we have.



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