Although she never said it out loud, I could tell my mother had a real problem with soap operas. I suppose she didn’t want to denigrate most of the other moms I knew who watched them, you know, while ironing and doing laundry — really slowly. Still, there was this scrunchy look she got on her face whenever they were the topic of conversation.
So, without her saying a word, I knew that there were better things for a stay-at-home mom do do with her laundry time. And since the Big Money Movie wasn’t on anymore, I would have to take this journey of discovery all alone.
When Jessica was born, I became quickly aware that nursing a newborn took every waking moment and then some. I tried to think of ways to fill the time productively. Of course, there was the fawning and cooing. But 21 hours straight of that seemed excessive even to a me. And I did read some decent books, but worried about the large depression being left on my baby’s skull by the library bindings.
Then I realized that Hour Magazine, with host Gary Collins, was actually televised every single day! All I had to do was make use of my VCR, and I’d have at least 60 uninterrupted minutes of homemaking tips. Gary could give marriage advice with Mary Anne, Carol could show me how to make an origami plant stand, and Kitty could show me how to use old jeans and fast-food ketchup packets to make darling nursery drapes. What a team we made!
But one day, the unthinkable happened. My backup tape came to an end and began to rewind before I’d even drained the left side. And there, right on network TV, was something I’d never seen before; a new show with an articulate, personable, and slightly edgy host. It was Oprah!
Soon I was hooked. Nursing and laundry were scheduled around her show. I didn’t want to be without her wit or wisdom. And my friends agreed. She was everything we wanted to be. She was smart, independent, caring, successful, respected, and rich. Well, sure, she didn’t have the gospel, but it was only a matter of time for someone who had everything else.
Her latest show was the topic of playground chat, she was quoted at church as an authoritative figure, and even her very public struggles simply endeared her to us. This was in the late 80’s, long before her plunge into the tabloid, when her topics seemed relevant and helpful, as well as entertaining. We were learning and growing and becoming so much better!
One day, however, while getting my daily dose, it hit me. We all sat around watching Oprah live, while Oprah was actually doing the living. She didn’t have the platform and position she did by sitting on the couch, swooning over Donahue. She did it by moving on her dreams, by taking action every day to get where she wanted.
That day she convinced me to tune out for good.
As “women of God” we have much to give to the world. Are we giving and living, or are we passive observers, watching life go by?