Since the age of 12 when my grandmother introduced me to the outlandish and extravagant 1958 film, Auntie Mame, I have been an avid lover of film and television classics. In fact, I have often remarked jokingly to family and friends that I was born in the wrong century, for my preferences, mannerisms, and demeanor tend decidedly toward the old-fashioned.
In reality, however, I was born shortly before the close of the 1980s, a decade largely void of the sophistication and charm that distinguished earlier American eras. So, I’ve long relied on the films and television shows of the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s to receive my vintage “fix.” Until my dying day, I am quite certain I will never tire of watching Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn waltz with abandon along the shores of the Seine in Funny Face. Although I have seen White Christmas more than a dozen times, the final scene during which Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney gather around the enormous Christmas tree to croon the song after which the movie is titled, never fails to fill me to bursting with sentimentality.
Still, I’ve always considered indulging in classic film and television nothing more than a trivial pleasure. Until recently, that is, when I moved to a large, unfamiliar city by myself to pursue graduate studies. To minimize significantly, the move has proved challenging. When I arrived I didn’t know a soul and although I have made friends, the loneliness continues to be painful, almost unbearable, at times.
Consequently, I’ve formed a habit of watching an episode of either The Mary Tyler Moore Show or The Bob Newhart Show while eating dinner, because nothing provokes loneliness more acutely than sitting down to a meal across from an empty chair. Surprisingly, as a result of doing so, the dinner hour has become a precious, much-awaited period of my day. While watching as Mary manages a newsroom crisis or Bob attempts to deal with an offbeat patient, my mind shifts from the agony of my aloneness and my present challenges temporarily subside.
Although I’ve been engaging in this evening ritual for several months, it was not until a few days ago that I realized God has been employing these television classics to soothe my burdened soul. Accordingly, from here forward, I plan to approach dinnertime with a heart of thankfulness, praising the Lord for ministering to me in my loneliness through something as seemingly inconsequential as a classic television episode.
Indeed, it is only because my Abba is accompanying me on this faith journey that I know I am “going to make it after all.”
Has God ever utilized the visual arts to minister to you during a time of loneliness?
How could you seek today to become more aware of the manner in which God is attending to you through what you are watching?
Katie Rider, a graduate of Asbury University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, is presently pursuing her Master of Arts in professional counseling degree from Richmont Graduate University. In addition, she serves as the editorial assistant for Conversations Journal. Following completion of her master’s degree, she plans to work towards attainment of her doctorate in counseling psychology, with the hopes of one day operating as a teacher, author, and licensed psychologist. Although she resides in Atlanta, Georgia, she will always be an Ohio girl at heart and cherishes the small portions of time she is able to spend in the buckeye state visiting her family.