Monday, January 18, 2010

Watching the Soap-Opera Network for Philosophical Inspiration?

As you've surely heard, Jack's back. 24 fans everywhere rejoice! Tim and Heidi are again nourishing the dreams of fashion designers and Donald Trump will soon be sending celebrities on scavenger hunts through the city....but it is a lesser known show that has me double-checking times and dates and the TiVo's to-do list.
Being Erica premiered last year on the Soap Opera channel...and though it isn't my usual habit to watch re-runs of Days of Our Lives (Saturday re-runs of 90210 and the O.C. are a different story. A girl has to fold laundry at some point!), I did tune in for this show. The premise caught my eye -- Erica is in her early thirties and she has a mile-long list of regrets up to this point in her life...she's feeling all of those 'what-ifs' and 'should haves' haunting her. Enter Doctor Tom. Dr. Tom is supposed to be a regular old therapist -- but instead of having her talk it all out, he sends her back in time to re-live those regrets. She can change things (barring the general rules of time-travel and wish-granting). She gets a do-over.
Who among us hasn't wished for a do-over once or twice or three thousand times? Wouldn't it be amazing? is and it isn't for Erica, for lots of reasons I won't get into...but for us, it isn't exactly an option.
We make choices and we're stuck with them...whatever our actions might be, the consequences that follow can't be magically erased. And sometimes, life just...happens. We can't control people getting sick or natural disasters or other people making decisions that hurt us. But we do get to choose how we proceed from that point. Every day that we wake up in this world, we've been given a gift of opportunity...we can take our God-given hours (our God-given mercies) and make something out of them. We can learn from our mistakes and see how that knowledge might help someone in our lives...if we keep our eyes open and our hearts willing to move on and embrace what we have, right at this moment, we can live gracefully with the heart-ache...our regrets and mistakes can make us more concious of our actions. More empathetic. More willing to forgive others. Hopefully, more willing to forgive ourselves (which can be pretty hard to do). And if we allow God to heal those hurts...well, at that point, we can have a real victory. Because He truly can turn what has been bad into something good...He can bring beauty from our ashes. I've seen it happen in my own life and in the lives around may not always be immediately, or show-stopping...but it'll happen, like those first flower-buds finally popping out their gorgeous colors just when you think winter's gonna' last forever...
In short, life isn't perfect. We aren't perfect. It's what we do with those imperfections that counts.
This show is a great reminder of that, yes. Though it may seem like an oxymoron, I am watching the Soap Network to learn about real life.

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