Listen to husband say, “I hate ABC.”
Listen to husband, pulling up the bed covers, ask, “Who was Jacob? What was the damn island? We still don’t know.”
Sleep on it.
Wake up and decide I liked it. I really liked it. I still don’t understand a lot of it, but are we supposed to? No. What can we take away from it? Plenty, actually.
First, we’re not alone in life. We’re all in this together, and we need each other. We’re all lost on an island, scared and confused and hurt. “We stand together, or we die alone.” There are always Others out there whom we don’t understand, who don’t understand us, and who can be hostile or helpful. We should probably try to understand them and befriend them, but too often we end up fighting them for no other reason than they are Others. In fact, I think on a fundamental level, Lost is a six-year-long sermon against holy war. The others are just like us (remember that wonderful scene in the temple with Sayid and the Japanese guy, right before Sayid kills him?), and we all ought to be helping each other get through.
Then, of course, there’s a Smoke Monster/Boogeyman/Random Evil out there that can end everything for us in a second.
We also need leaders (the Chosen) to hold us together and give us direction, but they make mistakes and we need to pay attention. Sometimes the laws or customs the Chosen develop need to be changed. Jacob wasn’t perfect. He made a mistake in killing his brother (think Cain and Abel rather than Jacob and Esau), and he spent the next 2,000 years making up for it. Ben recognizes this after Jack sacrifices himself to save everyone else, wounded in the side by a blade (subtle, eh?). In the end, Ben sees the possibility of change in his new leader, Hurley. Those who least want power wield it best, and apparently, Hurley does a good job. Under Hurley’s leadership, even Ben does a good job, too.
Science, it appears, doesn’t have all the answers. Each answer just leads to more questions. We were seduced by all the talk of electromagnetism, atomic bombs, and time instabilities into believing we’d get scientific answers (or science fiction answers) to explain what the island is and how it works. The message at the end of Lost seems to be that faith has to be there because science won’t yield all the answers we want. We can’t have one without the other, which is something I’ve believed for a long time myself.
Metaphor is a form of faith; the island is like life, the purpose of which we can only know indirectly. The truth is too bright a light for us to comprehend. Sawyer tells Jack, “Well, Moses, come down from the mountain and tell us what the burning bush said.” But even Jack doesn’t know for sure. That’s all the answer we’ll get. If Jack can accept that, with his scientific skepticism, and take a leap of faith, so can we.
That’s why we need our temples. They bring us together in community, and they can teach us forgiveness, harmony, and peace. The Bible is one long story about how we come together in community and keep screwing it up. The Hebrews in the Old Testament and the early Christians in the New Testament let pettiness and temptation lead them into conflict over and over again. The Bible is the story of us humans trying to get it right and always failing. But we keep trying; we keep building temples so we can find each other and sit down together. The final scenes in the church, with the stained glass representing the unity of different faiths, verged on the cheesy, but don’t we all hope the end is that comfortable and well lit?
Finally, we need to let go and move on. “Everybody dies sometime,” says Christian Shepherd. We die without all the answers but in community, together and forgiven, loved and loving. We get it right, eventually.
And a Christian Shepherd opens the doors for us.
Now I'm off to read what other people took away from last night's weirdness. Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments. I'd love to hear what you took away!