I don’t watch many television shows on a regular basis. Occasionally, I’ll randomly check the guide and find something interesting, watch it for five minutes, then turn it off and go outside where things are real and beautiful.

During those five minutes, I often come across things that shock me. I’m not sure why the audacity, depravity, and exploitative nature of television still shocks me. But it does. My mom raised us to play outside and with toys lacking batteries. We were allowed to watch one hour of TV a day once we were in middle school, and that hour consisted of The Brady Bunch and Jeopardy (hence my long-lasting Jeopardy obsession). That might not be right for everybody, but it was right for me, and I’m grateful for her persistence in pushing us to get up, get moving, and go explore the world. We learned how to entertain ourselves, how to communicate, how to find pleasure in a good book or piece of music, how to create and invent games, and how to value the realities around us, whether it be nature or the people in our lives. All the time we could’ve filled with show after show was spent learning, loving, and laughing instead.

One of the shows I came across for five minutes last week had something to do with hoarding. It featured three people, two women and one man, who’d accumulated so much stuff that their very lives were being choked out of theirĀ  own homes. “Cluttered” doesn’t begin to describe it. And it wasn’t all trash–one woman stockpiled groceries that would have fed her family for at least one year without leaving the house–seriously. Each of them admitted they had an addiction or problem related to hoarding, and they asked for help.

The first action for them was to empty their hands (and their shelves, and their piles, and their closets).

It made me think about what things I’m still carrying that I’d be better off letting go of.

If my hands are constantly full, how will God ever fill them with any new tiny miracles?