by Andrea Elizabeth
Another theme in ‘Lost’ is dead-beat dads. It seems all the main characters had horrible relationships with their fathers. Jack’s care of his father’s body shows that he was still passionately following his dad beyond the grave despite it all. At the very end he finally gets the validating pat on the shoulder which is supposed to make up for everything.
Locke also spends a lot of time casing his dad, only to be used and abused by him. Sideways Locke has pity on his dad in the nursing home though. It’s easier to forgive them when they’re drooling in a wheelchair. This reminds me of Jane Eyre where she visits Mrs. Reed at her deathbed and is able to forgive her. It seems that children see their parents as all-powerful and a necessary shaper of their lives, for better or worse. When the parent is finally weakened by old age and death, the child can learn of his own independent power, which hopefully the parent will also come to respect and validate in the end. Then the child can move on.
What about children who became disillusioned with a parent early on, who became convinced of their weakness while still a child? Though the child may convince themselves that that parent’s validation doesn’t matter, I think when they become an adult, that they will still seek it. And if they were right, they will be disappointed when they find it.
It seems an innate component in our psyche to want to put people on a pedestal, and to want to have the pedestalled person look down mercifully on us. When convinced that that particular person’s mercy wont do the trick, then I think it is hard to believe that anyone’s will, not that that will stop the search. I think the most jaded person still wants to find someone worthy. If not, then they probably think they deserve to be the one on the pedestal. Linus, who likewise had a miserable father, seemed to want the latter, but he also sought Jacob, as did Locke.
If I may switch gears and talk about Orthodox hierarchs. Americans in particular are jaded with regard to leaders. We do not trust them and demand publicized scrutiny of all their actions. But we still hope for better. We want to be convinced that we don’t have to give up on a worthy father-figure. We have an innate idea of what a trustworthy father should look like, and that is our standard. We know that God fits this standard, and so should his representative. I wonder if we have too high a standard for fatherhood though. Perhaps we are meant to look to God alone for not only the perfection of that standard, but the only source of it. For a human to achieve the likeness of God’s fatherhood, perhaps he has to be a Saint, which is possible, but rare and attained at the highest cost. This is why we look for a self-sacrificing leader. One who will endure trials, abuse and scorn for us. We know Christ was willing and so should our leaders be.
I admire how Metropolitan Jonah has conducted himself throughout the development of the recently concluded first Episcopal Assembly. He expressed nothing but optimism and joy for the process of union, and humbly sat at the lowest, least recognized table without complaining. I hope he was not disappointed.
This jaded person trusts Metropolitan Jonah, but I know that life is a continuous struggle and that a person, including me, must prove ones-self until one’s own deathbed scene.