I have to admit, although I’m not a big fan of television series in general, I’m hooked on ABC’s Lost. Apparently, I’m not the only one. Sixteen million “Lostaways” tune in every week to follow the unusual saga of an eclectic cast of characters stranded on an a mysterious island somewhere in the South Pacific. Through the use of flash-backs, flash-forwards, and “flash-sideways,” each episode surrenders a few more facts about the cast-aways and their peculiar island, while generating a whole new crop of intriguing questions. In many ways, the series mirrors life. All of us have challenges that simply can’t be resolved in a sixty-minute episode. They can be every bit as perplexing and elusive as being stranded on a supernatural island. Yet, the more willing we are to explore the questions, without anxiously pressing for a solution, the more insight we gain about ourselves and the world around us. Earlier this week, as I listened to a friend tell me about his “island mysteries,” I realized how much I longed to help him find a tidy solution to his challenges within our sixty-minutes together. I risked alienating him by giving him a cheap and unsatisfactory episodic solution rather than joining with him in living with the mysterious questions. When it comes to exploring the mysteries of our lives, the infamous line from Lost is apropos, “Live together or die alone.”
Your thoughts? Are you often tempted to offer quick solutions to your friend’s challenges?