Saturday, June 30, 2007

"Pity Party Island"

Most everyone on the Island of the LOST series, came there with personal mega-baggage. A person can hardly be a functional human being and not have any historical baggage, but some of the Losties seem to have their share and then some. A good portion of their heavy yokes seems to be their fears. For some it's fear of failure, bad luck, uselessness, loneliness, intrusion, or of the future. For other characters it's fear of their pasts in general.

The LOST Powers That Be utilize the Losties' past behavior a great deal in the show as a tool to tell the story. Personal fears seem to be what drives a lot of the characters' actions and the outcomes, good or bad, of their choices. Many of the decisions that are made by the castaways are knee-jerk and thinly thought out reactions to their anxieties about themselves. The images in the Swan Station mural illustrate the feelings of fear, dread, and hopelessness that are woven into the episodes and the psyches of the characters. As well as the chaos that appears to be going on inside their heads as they live each day on the Island. Really, I would not want to be inside of the minds of many of the castaways, they seem to be so frantic and tortured all the time.

A life lived in constant fear is not a productive life. Fear makes us weak and impotent in our decision-making skills, and sabotages the good things that God wants for our lives. I have known a lot of spiritual people who forget the parts in the Bible about trusting God and not being afraid, giving themselves lots of excuses for not doing certain things out of fear (or fear of failure). I lived the first two thirds of my life that way as well! But I'm trying to do better for the remainder of my life. Nothing productive comes from using fear as an excuse to fail. We could justify succumbing to fears if the Bible wasn't filled with so many verses that say, "Fear not", "Don't worry", etc. God doesn't say that we won't ever be afraid, but like Joyce Meyer says, if you have to do something fearful, don't just wimp out and avoid doing it, "do it afraid" anyway! Courage isn't doing something without fear, it's doing it in spite of the fear. And not acting, out of fear, cheats us out of the best that life has to offer us. It also cheats those we interact with (like the fellow LOST castaways), or those we teach by our example, out of the positive results of courage. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Courage is much more exhilarating than fear, and in the long run it is easier." The fearful decisions (or non-decisions) that I made in my life proves that out.

Giving in to our fears also allows us to feel pity for ourselves, which is lame. I used to do this to myself a lot. And I say, "to" myself, because destructive self-pity has only a negative influence on the way we live our lives. The only good part of the movie "G.I.Jane", is the D.H. Lawrence quote, "I have never seen a wild thing feel sorry for itself. A little bird will fall dead frozen from a bough, without ever having felt sorry for itself." This is a great quote to live by, and made it worth the waste of money for the movie ticket to learn it. Not that I have anything against movies about Navy Seals, it's just that why, when someone finally makes a movie about BUDS training, do they make Demi Moore the good guy, and the SEAL recruits and officers to look like a bunch of ignorant rednecks?! Navy SEALS philosophy is all about taking yourself beyond what you think that you can do, because you can usually do more than you think you can. So, HOOYAH!

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