Wednesday, June 02, 2010

LOST: A Reflection



After watching the series finale of LOST with my good friend Cameron King and many others, I found myself in a very reflective and pensive mood. My tweet following the end of the series was “Absolutely Beautiful!” and Cameron added the word epic. Epic and beautiful.

So why these two words?

Well I will start with the word epic. When watching LOST the first few times, the element that drew me in was the depth and intricacy of the story itself. LOST is the story of a group of survivors on a plane crash. As one watches the series, one discovers that the survivors of this plane crash have had their lives cross at previous occasions, but during their time on the island they do not realize how close their lives have come together previously. So this group of individuals seemed to be fated to come together, but as they come together, they enter into a story much larger than any of them can imagine. They each receive a fresh start, and it is the myriad array of strengths from their experiences that allows them to form a sense of team and of family as they struggle to survive on this island.
The setting of the island has its own array of strange twists that take it from the typical castaway desert-island trope to emerge as a strange location where polar bears and smoke monsters live, and where an array of strange properties are witnessed (i.e. healing of cancer and paralysis). And yet there is more. This same island proves to be a crucible for testing character as well as a fresh starting point for this unlikely mix of passengers on a plane. The story mixes the natural and the supernatural in such a way that the story grows in intrigue and mystery. There are knowns and unknowns, and just when one thinks they have figured out the island or the plot, a new twist emerges.

I could wax on about the epic simplicity and complexity of the show, the island and the characters, but I’d like to suggest that the there is much more to be said about the beauty of the show and the finale. The show leaves many questions unanswered, and in a way reflects the lives we live. There are subjects we know innately, experiences we can’t explain, and as much as we explore, there are new mysteries to be discovered. And yet, at the same time the numinous should not be a stumbling block. In LOST, of course there were unanswered questions—in some ways it is hard to fully ‘get it’ when watching the series. And yet, the way the story is told, and the endearing qualities of virtually every character draws the viewer in.

Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of the show to me was how it wove great truths together in a beautiful way. We enjoyed watching the characters live out lives of sacrifice, grace, forgiveness, reconciliation, and redemption. In a whirlwind way as the series drew to a close, it appeared that each character discovered his/her unique purpose, and began to live it out in a way that benefitted the whole group.

I believe that there is something beautiful about seeing someone discover their unique purpose in this world, and even more than that, I believe that the most valuable part of our lives when we examine them is not necessarily our exploits and travels, but rather our relationships. Part of the beauty of LOST is that it enthralls the viewers with the characters of the story, but also that it allows us the experience of watching the development and cherishing of relationships. At different points in the story, we watch as characters work to serve themselves, but as the series draws to a close each of them works together to accomplish something truly beautiful. As Jack Shepherd remarks early in the series, “We can live together, or die alone.”

If you are a LOSTIE, I hope you enjoyed these thoughts. I’m tempted to write more, but this post is already a bit long. If you haven’t watched LOST, I believe it is one of the best written television shows in the short history of the medium.

And whether you watch LOST or not, I hope you will work hard in your life to live with a purpose that serves your fellow human beings and that puts a value on relationship, forgiveness, grace, redemption and reconciliation, those, I believe are among the views we will cherish and savor the most as the beautiful and epic stories of our own lives unfold.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

...would love for you to share more of your LOST reflections in additional blog posts......this was a great start!

chanchanchepon said...

Thanks for your encouragement. I'll see what I can manage to put together. There are so many subjects to write about, I'll have to figure out how often I should write and where to start. :)

Great show though!