Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only have the atheists heard the Intelligent Design argument, they say they’re tired of hearing it. They adamantly refuse to admit that design is proof of a Designer. Nothing in my FFB upbringing could prepare me for the likes of these people.
Oh the countless failed attempts to get out of this mess! The denial. I’m strong. I can control myself. I can limit my time on the computer if I make up my mind. Yeah sure.
Another great idea – I’ll have someone in the family hide the USB cable somewhere out of the house, and if I have some “valid” reason to go online, I’ll get online at the library maybe once a week. (We don’t have wireless Internet access.) I didn’t know where that wire was hidden. Maybe in the car? I didn’t want to know.
It didn’t work. Maybe it didn’t work because it was too hard to wait a week to continue my all important e-mail correspondences. Maybe it was too hard to shlep down to the library every time I felt I had some very important reason to get online.
Whatever the reason, inevitably the cable was back in our home computer, and I was back at my habit. It went on this way for years. Finally something happened that saved my life. The yeshuah came in the form of good news. A close family member, someone I care about, someone I was worried about, finally stopped smoking. I had to do something to thank Hashem. I had to take something upon myself – some new improvement to show my gratitude.
What could I do? What should I take on? The thought was loud and persistent. “If Yosef (not his real name) can quit smoking, you can quit the Internet.”
The inner conflict began. “No you can’t stop going online! You know how many times you tried to stay offline. Forget it!”
“Yes, I can stop going online. That’s it. I’m not going online anymore.”
This time my commitment was different. This time my commitment was to Hashem, not just to myself. I owed something to Hashem now. (Not that I didn’t owe Hashem anything before.)
The USB cable was removed from the computer for the last time. Somehow I never asked for it back. And somehow I managed to control myself even when I went to the library. I’d see the many people with their faces glued to the computer screen. I felt sorry for them. I was free now. They were still in prison. I could just go off now to that nice comfortable chair in the library and read a book.
It’s been about a year now. Did I ever cheat? To be honest, yes, sort of, about 3 or 4 times that I can remember. For example, about a year ago on Tisha B’av I allowed myself to watch a Project Inspire video online, while someone sat in the room as my shomer. The other times that I remember were also relatively innocent – not that these lapses are justified.
What has my new offline life been like? Life goes on as usual. I’m so busy during the day, I have no time to think – I’m just too busy living life. How I twiddled away so many hours online with all I have to do, I’ll never know! But when I stop to think about my new life, I guess I would describe it in one word – freedom. Freedom from the daily grind of deleting junk mail. Freedom from getting my head caught in stranger’s problems. Freedom from apikorsus. Now instead of sitting for hours looking into a computer screen, I can sit on my lawn and feel the fresh air and look around at the beautiful trees. Real-life fresh air and real-life trees. In short, baruch Hashem, I’ve been released from prison.
Henia is a freelance writer. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org (Henia’s e-mail address is not for social correspondence, but for freelance writing purposes only. Someone else checks her e-mail and responds on her behalf)