I don’t watch much television, but I have remained faithful to the Lost series over the years. I found the final episode moving, not because I’ll miss the characters so much, or because any particular unity was achieved from the still-conflicting plotlines. But if you saw the finale you couldn’t help being stirred by each character’s “memory flashback” while living their (absurd) parallel lives.
These sudden epiphanies revealed to the character a great love, a great friendship, another meaningful life entirely, standing squarely in front of their previously unaware eyes. Memories of happiness, pains endured, adversities overcome, even deaths shared – all unexpectedly flooded the characters’ minds in an intense moment of spiritual reckoning.
It got me to thinking about the characters in my own life, and how superficially I exist with them – but how wholly I might permit myself to be aware of their full worth and consequence, and how utterly precious and fundamental they are to my very being.
For example, instead of a casual conversation with my parents, should I not allow myself to brush back my mother’s hair, caress my father’s cheek, and in that moment be flooded with a brilliant awareness of their courageous journey to my birth day, wiping the tears from my child eyes, standing by my side as I became a man, fighting, and humming lullabies?
My wife, who is my very breath, my carried heart, my reason for being. My brother, my family, my lost grandparents, my lost dog, my oxen friends, my dearest patients – do they all not deserve such a private epiphany? Shouldn’t we all be jarred into a naked awareness of our mortal legend and its epic characters once in a while? How could I have been so blind, so numbly ignorant of the mayfly colossuses in my life? How desperately I cherish them beneath the humdrum routine.
And then the show ended (along with the melancholy side effects I felt from the antihistamine I had taken earlier that night). I settled back into a comfortably numb, semi-aware state that would permit me to go to work in the morning.