Lost and Lovin' it

Are you watching?

(photo: abc.go.com)

I am a big-time Lostie.

After reading that sentence, you are now doing one of the following:

1. Squinting with confusion at the word “Lostie.”

2. Rolling your eyes and poising the mouse to click away.

3. Doing a silent fist-pump in the air and settling in for some good reading and theory-swapping.

This blog post is for those of you who fall into the third category. We Losties, after all, must stick together.

Goodness knows my husband won’t stick with me. He’s what you might call a fair weather Lostie. He likes the show well enough when the action is fast and furious, or when Sawyer or Hurley throw out ironic one-liners, but he has precious little tolerance for what he calls “being played” by the writers.

But me? I kinda like being played.

It’s a bit of a trick, though, to follow convoluted plot lines while your better half is throwing things at the television screen and shouting things like, “This is soooooo stoooopid! Every time they answer something, we get five new questions!!!”

I’m not going to say he’s wrong about that, but some of us rather enjoy the complicated stories, unanswered questions, and characters that make us care despite the frustrations.

Even if the plot made no sense at all (And let’s face it, sometimes it does seem as if the writers themselves aren’t keeping track of all the mysteries they have conjured up. Who could?), I think I would watch Lost for its religious imagery and symbolism alone.

There’s good and evil, sin and redemption, hope and healing, religion and science, and life after death ... We Catholics eat this stuff for breakfast.

A couple of seasons ago, I watched with tears streaming down my face as the show’s most overtly religious character, Mr. Eko, stood in the ocean and baptized Baby Aaron. It was just such a beautiful depiction of the gift of grace and the goodness of God.

I am not alone in my Catholic appreciation for this bit of popular culture. Fr. Greg Friedman, OFM shared some thoughts on the Christian imagery in last week’s episode:

“This mysterious heart of the island contains a pool of water, which immediately made me—and my friend Matt Swaim, fellow devotee of the show—to think of John 5. This pool’s waters are troubled, stirred up and murky. When our heroes arrive with the dying Sayid, he’s placed into the waters, even though the temple attendants seem unsure what will happen. They hold Sayid beneath the water, prompting his friends to protest that he’s being drowned. And, indeed, Sayid, carried out (in the image of a crucifixion) is dead. Dr. Shephard’s attempts to resuscitate him fail. But then, surprisingly, Sayid comes back to life.

Lots of explanations remain to unravel the mystery of this scene in the Lost story arc, but once again the show’s creators have drawn on our Christian imagery—the place of healing, our understanding of Baptism, going into the waters of the baptismal pool ... where we die with Christ and rise again.”

And it was my turn to do the silent fist-pump while listening to Fr. Roderick Vonhögen’s podcast, Lost and the Mystery, last week. Fr. Roderick spoke eloquently about the meaning of “mystery” as Catholics understand it, and how that concept makes the plot of Lost a true depiction of the human experience.

And that, I think, is key. You can say that Lost fans are wasting their time sitting intently in front of their television sets week after week, but in the end, those of us who appreciate Lost appreciate that it depicts a truth about the human experience. It makes us think about what is good, what is true, and what is right. Good art will always make us do that.

So I’ll give everyone a pass for the hour a week. But all those quizzes you’ve been taking? The forums you’ve been frequenting? Those podcasts you’ve been downloading? And that Dharma wine you’ve been drinking?

Come on people, get a grip! Or at least invite me. I’ve got a theory or two I’d like to try out on you.