watch. lost.

Yes, I know, LOST is over. But I would be remiss if I failed to share with you my love of the show, and in an era when the series will soon be released on DVD and Blu-ray in its entirety, it is not too late for me to recommend that you devote some time to this brilliant piece of the great TV canon.

This final season, one of my favorite characters made one of my favorite statements, saying “there’s always a choice, brotha’.” I offer you one now. You can choose to read the text below – my thoughts on the series and the lessons it teaches – now. Or, you can stop now; maintain the most mystery possible; watch the series; and come back to my brilliant (or not-so-brilliant) insights later.

So, you decided to read.

Perhaps, you are a fan like myself who said goodbye to LOST last week and are still in the process of letting go. Perhaps, you never saw an episode and don’t intend to, but you would like to know, for the sake of cultural literacy, what all the fuss was for. Wherever you fall, I hope this makes some sense to you.

LOST is a work of art.
In high school, I was once assigned the task of bringing in an example of “art”  for discussion. Knowing that I spent 20 hours a week in a ballet studio, my classmates fully expected me to bring in a dance piece. But, in an effort to go against expectation, I chose an episode of M*A*S*H.  I believe LOST has more than a four-letter title in common with the long-running comedy that said so much about love and war and life.  As a painting on a gallery wall, a symphony played in a great hall, or a ballet performed for a wide audience, LOST is open to interpretation. It has depth, movement, moments, crescendos, and story, but it leaves the meaning, and therefore, the effect on its audience with the viewers themselves.

LOST, like any great story, teaches us lessons.
Because it is open to interpretation, I cannot share a definitive or exhaustive list of the lessons that this show teaches its audience, but I will share what I learned:

About community:

  • No man is an island.
  • If we live together, we won’t even die alone.
  • Relationships, and only relationships, are eternal.

About purpose:

  • There is an ultimate redemptive plan that cannot be thwarted. We get to choose if and how we participate in that plan, and along the journey we get choices and chances.
  • Sometimes an allusion is just an allusion. Sometimes it’s just chalk on the wall of a cave.
  • Faith and science are not mutually exclusive.
  • We all “let go” and “move on” at a different pace.
  • There will be hardships and trials – whether it is a fight for survival, a fight to communicate, a fight to be understood, or a fight to get home – it’s how we react in those the circumstances that reveal our character.

About mystery:

  • Mystery is a part of life – it reminds us of an unknown and reveals a desire in us to seek after it.
  • We are not guaranteed answers to all of our questions. Everything will not be tied up in a neat package. Some issues will fray. But, even in all the questions,  we are guaranteed that we will not be alone.

(I’d like to thank Jimmy Kimmel for his recap including 2 additional lessons: 1. All dogs don’t necessarily go to heaven, and 2. Don’t go chasing waterfalls.)

Also, LOST is like great stories in another way: it has a clear beginning, middle, and end (the pilot, the season 3 finale, and the series finale – all so good). I would like to encourage more people in the story-telling business, regardless of medium, to follow suit. A sequel is not always required!

Once LOST, now found.
I have not been one to force biblical parallels into LOST during the series. Without a doubt, there were some powerful biblical images and allusions along the way, but there were also great literary ones and scientific ones. And the more one pushed an allusion into clue or metaphor the more the details didn’t match up. But as I took in the final scenes and stepped back to see the big picture, I have been taken in. I’m sure many seeing through the lens of their own faith see differently, but this is one of my conclusions.

It’s truly amazing to me that even if unintended or not fully understood by the creators, viewers, and fans, the story of LOST was another mirage of the Greatest Story that we are really living in – a Story of Redemption. It was another glimpse of God’s imprint on a world that has yet to fully understand or be awakened to Him. And truly, that journey is not a test to pass or a list to check off, but a relationship to nurture. It is in that relationship we are no longer lost, but found.

I will miss the stories, the characters, and the weekly discussions; however, I’m going to hold on long enough to welcome your thoughts, ideas, lessons, and wishes (because I know the finale was only near perfect). Please leave your comments!


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