I have been told that I talk too much about LOST, but I can’t help but process all of the implications of the show and how they relate to our faith after new episodes air Tuesday nights. So please hang with me until May as I continue to reference the show. This blog is more of a rant and probably a jumbled mess, but it is a proper reflection where we are in this season of LOST. One of the major questions early on about the show was whether or not the writers knew where they were taking it. There have been about a bazillion theories on what the island is and what the writers are saying about the nature of our world, some less appealing than others. The one that that is most unacceptable to me is that this is all a dream in someone’s head (whether it be Hurley’s, Jack’s, or even Vincent the dog’s).
I have heard people say that however the show ends will be ok because it’s all about the journey the writers have taken us on. I couldn’t disagree more with this thought. There is a popular idea in our world that says, “The journey is more important than the destination.” For a few years in college I fell in love with this notion and even bought a shirt that said, “The journey is the destination.” While this may point to a valid thought that emphasizes the importance of living in the moment and enjoying the ride of life, this is hardly acceptable when you boil it down to its core. Life becomes meaningless if it does not point to an ultimate destination. And the same goes for this popular TV show. If Damon Lindelhof and Carlton Cuse (the creators of LOST) do not have a way to end this journey that is satisfying, then the journey was not worth taking in the first place. The same goes for living a life of faith for me. Paul says, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:19 NIV)
Evangeline Lilly, who plays Kate Austen on LOST, commented on this subject in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly. She said, “You’re either along for the ride and part of it, or you’re not. And if you don’t trust the writers, you might as well get off the boat.” But trusting the writers means that you have faith that they will ultimately take you to a destination. I start to lose faith in the creators of LOST when I read statements like this when Lindelhof commented on Top Chef: “Lindelof, who said they’re big fans of the Bravo reality series, likened writing the show to the Top Chef contestants having to figure out what to use after they’ve grabbed a bunch of ingredients in a hurry.”
Now I am on the record challenging people to embrace mystery, especially when it comes to these two subjects (LOST and following Christ), but there is a HUGE difference between mystery and not being able to bring order to randomness and create mystery out of this order. And if the creators of LOST end up taking this to an “Alice in Wonderland” type of deal where this is all a dream, as it is being suggested, then I will be sorely disappointed and regret investing so much time in this show.
I think there is something built into all of us that leaves us hoping that something as captivating as LOST can conclude in such a way that is as masterful as the journey has suggested. But right now they are avoiding answering questions under the guise of “mystery.” If you are a fan of this show and are a Christian, you will love how this connects in 1 Corinthians 13, with an emphasis on mirrors. Paul says, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV) He is speaking to this hope that sits deep within us that this life is pointing to a destination worth it all. As James said to me earlier today, mystery is not less knowledge; rather, the more knowledge you gain the more you realize you don’t know. Yesterday he tweeted a quote by Flannery O’Connor (a writer the creators of LOST are obsessed with) when she says, “Mystery is not diminished with knowledge; it grows along with it.”
For now, I will hold out hope that the creators of LOST will pull it together in a way that is both enlightening and mysterious. I echo Jeff Jensen’s sentiment when he says, “Still, I stick to my optimistic guns that Lost is the equivalent of a musical fantasia or musical impromptu — a work of sophisticated improvisation; a work that will be completed with at least some degree of redemptive, meaningful shape, purpose, and design because the writers were allowed to actually complete it.” And if not, I will still trust that the author of this life will bring us to completion when we arrive at our destination and see Him face to face.