This past week the television series LOST concluded its six year run. Some thought the ending was great, some thought it could have been done differently. I was undecided at first, but eventually leaned toward respecting what the writers came up with. Whatever your thoughts were, most all can agree it was a dynamic, heart-pumping, captivating plot! I was amazed by the many emotions I experienced as I realized how attached I had become to these fictional characters. After the final episode concluded and I sat listening to Jimmy Kimmel crack jokes instead of interviewing the cast, (which ticked me off!) I sat staring at my TV. waiting for them to come back with something about starting a new season. I’m thinking, “It can’t be over!” As the reality set in that there would be no “next season,” I began to go through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression (reflection, loneliness), and then, finally, acceptance. I did wallow in self pity for a while wondering what I would do without Jack’s mood swings, James’s sarcasm, Hugo’s humor, Sayid’s skill to make anyone squeal through torture, and Kate keeping all of them guessing which one she really liked! I thought to myself, “What a great series!”
The whole premise of the series was each character finding their purpose, each of them trying to find meaning. I talked to some people about the ending and saw some of the status updates that my friends had posted. Some were confused, and some didn’t like the ending. I spoke to one of my friends that said, “Last night I wasn’t a big fan of the ending, but I’m beginning to understand it more, and I like it now.” The only ones that could give LOST its ending were the ones that gave it its meaning–the writers. The writers explained that they knew how the story was going to end long before the last episode ever took place. As much as we all fell in love with the characters, the writers were the real heroes; they gave the story meaning, along with those cliffhanger moments where we couldn’t wait until the next episode.
I’m reading a book by Donald Miller called “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”. In his book Miller talks about how ultimately our lives are one big book written by God. He speaks of a time he went to a conference where this big name screen writer was doing a lecture on how to create a great story. The guy talked about how the key ingredient to a great story is conflict, and without conflict your characters will have no meaning, people will become disinterested and stop reading or watching. He went on to say, “You put your characters through hell!!” By putting them through this “hell” you capture your audience and leave them wondering what will happen, you leave them wanting more. No one wants to read or watch a story that’s perfect, they like drama. They like to see the character go through hardships. With that said, no writing team understands this concept more than the writers of the television series 24. There is no fictional character in the history of TV. that has been through more “hell” than Jack Bauer. This man saw his wife murdered, he’s been captured and tortured by the Chinese (who pronounced his name, Jack BOWA), hunted by every mercenary there is, betrayed by close friends, and has died at least twice! Come on! If that isn’t putting your character through “hell” I don’t know what is! I’ve been a faithful 24 and LOST fan since their beginnings and if the stories were perfect, with perfect people, I probably wouldn’t have kept watching. The reason? Because I wouldn’t have been able to relate. They captivated me with their imperfections and their quest to find a purpose.
Our lives are one big book and God is the writer, he’s continually writing away at the story and putting his characters through “hell”, but why? Is it because he’s some sinister God that likes to see his kids suffer? No, quite the contrary, it’s because He’s the master writer; He’s creating conflict and adversity so when (and if) we work through it we become better for it. So at the season finale everyone stands to their feet and gives a standing ovation, as tears roll down their face, completely blown away of how someone could over come so much adversity. I can see it now: The angels are up in heaven sitting in their comfy chairs of the theater eating their popcorn (or mana), waiting for the next episode of JASON MAUPIN to air! What will happen this time? I would like to see the teaser for that! Ha!!
I have to be honest, there are times I don’t know what He’s writing, or even if I like what He’s writing. There are times where I wonder if He has “writer’s block” and forgot about my story. Or that he’s already written this we need to move on! There are times I feel like Jack Shepherd from LOST. I ‘m frustrated at where I’m at; wishing life would “throw me a bone!” There are times I wish I could skip the heartache, the pain and drama and get to the good stuff. But it’s the heartache, the pain and the drama that makes it interesting and keeps the ratings up. I guess I’m just happy He’s still writing about me, that my season didn’t get cancelled or worse my character didn’t die.
I’m not a believer in purgatory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purgatory) but I’m a believer that all of us go through struggles, trials, and hardships. I believe we will continue to go through these struggles, trials, and hardships until we learn the lesson the writer wants us to learn. Once we learn the lesson, we’ll move on to the next chapter. I need to trust the writer more…I need to trust that He knows best, I need to learn the character He has created me to be, I need to “Let go” as so many people told Jack in the series LOST. I need to be content in this chapter of my life and stop trying to skip ahead, knowing that it’s this chapter that’s grooming me for the next chapter. At the end of my life I want to look back and say, “That was a great series!” I want to enjoy life, not worrying all the time. I want some action, adventure, some drama, and romance (with my wife of course). I want my story to be interesting and I believe that everyone has the right to be the hero in their own story. The tough thing to swallow is, if we want to be the hero and not an extra on the outskirts we have to go through “hell.”
Proverbs 19:21 says: “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” The bottom line is the writer is the one that knows best. We can detour from our purpose as Jack Shepherd did several times in LOST, and give ourselves more heartache than if we had just stuck with the script. Or we can surrender to the writer’s hand knowing that we may not be a big fan of the ending but after a while we’ll realize why “that” happened and why He chose “that” ending. After all, the writer is the one that gave the story purpose in the first place, so why wouldn’t he know how to end it. To all those who like me are struggling to play your role, play your part, play it well, remember to stick to the script; when you’re in a dramatic part or some major turmoil is going on, learn what you need to learn so the page can turn and the story can move on. Be encouraged that every dynamic, heart pumping, captivating, story only comes through blood, sweat, and tears. Be encouraged that if you persevere through the scene-even though you may not agree with how it’s scripted- you will win the hearts of many and be chosen to star in many more roles to come! This may sound crazy but I want to thank the series LOST for opening up my eyes to the wonders of a story, my story. I may not like every line of the book or series Im in but I do know I want to keep reading and watching, waiting in anticipation for the ending that one day will come. And although I may not get 13.5 million people to tune in to the “season finale” as long as the Writer is there and He is happy, then I’ve done my job.