Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Getting LOST

It's just fun. You're at the Jersey Shore in August, just a kid, and you're big enough to be out in the surf, and a big 'ole wave rises up, and you see hordes of kids and adults to the right and left jumping up and down, getting ready to ride that thing when it billows and breaks over them. Such a feeling is sweeping the nation right now with the debut of the final season of the television series LOST. What is it about this ridiculously complex show that has captivated so many? I think two things - the Humanity and the Divinity. Let me 'esplain. THE HUMANITY LOST has an unparalleled cast of characters, each of them as unique as the next. The cross-section of humanity in this series is impressive to say the least. It traverses the globe, it splashes a host of colors on its palate, and gives us a taste of as many languages. It makes Gilligan's Island look like vanilla pudding (come to think of it...)
LOST is all of us and all of us are LOST. Each of us too seeks a way off of the tiny island of ourselves and into the mysterious ocean of the Other.

For the past five seasons, we've been trying to find out who the survivors are and why they are so connected to each other - the doctor, convict, con-artist, sailor, former child soldier, beauty queen, rock star, unwed mom, married couple, and Hurley (I love Hurley). We've joined this motley crew of Oceanic 815 on a journey into their own memories as dense as the jungle that surrounds them, and vicariously we've been invited to do the same. LOST is a mass of humanity, each with their own story of wounds and regrets, of shining moments too, of heroic choices and self-sacrifice, all seeking answers, just like us. It's humanity seeking Divinity; the Mystery of All Mysteries that shapes our very existence. But what they find on the island is never just a simple answer. It's simply more questions.... just like us. THE DIVINITY The Synchronicity, the Smoke Monster, the Time Travel, the Healing Powers of the Island are all ultimately mysteries. I think this may be the dividing line between those who love LOST and those who hate it. (There's really no in between is there?) In the realm of the Divine, mysteries can only be experienced, not fully explained. Some of us are captivated by this, like John Locke. In season 2, when he is face to "face" with the Mysterious Smoke Monster, he cries out... "It's beautiful." Others among us are frustrated by this, like Jack Sheppard. The last thing he would call this Mystery is beautiful. Jack doesn't want to feel the Mystery, he wants to fix it. This "Cloud of Unknowing" either makes us cough in confusion or cry out in admiration. Throughout the show, just when we think we might have a firm grasp on something or someone, it slips away. But don't we always keep watching? Do we really want to know, or is it enough to see here and now "through a glass darkly"? The charm, I think, of LOST lies in this mystery. It's exciting to see a glimmer of the Unexplained in television again. For such is life. Mystery upon mystery as we grow older and older, circling about the island of our own personal enigmas and with each passing turn, seeing perhaps a Hand at work, guiding us to some place, unravelling the knot in our minds and hearts as we live each day in its turn. The Christian comfort here is that the Hand guiding us in real life is not so fallible or fallen as a Benjamin Linus (man, he's evil), or Charles Whitmore (man, he's... I'm not sure yet) but this Hand is Good. And it's a pierced hand that knows the enigma of human suffering. OK, buckle up. We're making our approach. Flight attendants prepare for landing. Be sure to keep your seat in an upright position and store all carry on luggage securely. This could be a bumpy reentry! Who's knows where (or when) we'll end up tonight!!

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