Sunday, 1 August 2010

Spiritual lessons from the West Wing: Season Five moments

Fans of the greatest TV show ever made will know that something terrible happens at the end of Season Four. And no, I don't mean the departure of Rob Lowe, though the loss of Sam Seaborn upsets the balance of characters and, in my opinion the series never fully recovers from this.

No, I'm talking about something far more fundamental: Aaron Sorkin left. Someone else was writing the characters. Getting America involved in peace-keeping missions, keeping Josh and Donna apart, all that stuff. It wasn't the same. Still now people complain about the change in the behaviour of some characters: Richard Schiff was reportedly angry at what happens with Toby later on, and loving Donna as I do, I desperately miss Aaron Sorkin's version of her. She would never have said "not much nostalgia there". Anyway, I digress.

Those who watched the West Wing for its fast-paced, intelligent dialogue (and I'm guessing that's most of us), for its, well, its Sorkin-ness, went into mourning.

The change was jarring.

Life feels a little like that, sometimes, doesn't it? Everything's going along well. You think you know where things are heading. Then something happens, something you did not expect, something perhaps that years later you will still question. Something that upsets the balance of your life.

If you're in a Season Five moment right now, struggling to work out where things went wrong, why it had to be this way when you liked it so much just the way it was, take heart: God is still in control. He has not left you. He still knows the end from the beginning, and He is still getting you there. Remember Joseph? Thrown into a pit and sold into slavery. But God meant it for good.

I'm reading a brilliant book by Pete Wilson at the moment: "Plan B - what to do when God doesn'tshow up the way you thought He would". The best advice I can give you is to work through that. Well that's not entirely true: the best advice I can give you is actually to cling to God, but that book will show you how.

Who's writing your life? Be thankful (no, really) that it's not Aaron Sorkin. Be thankful that it's not any man (or woman) who at any point could leave you at the mercy of less-than-perfect scriptwriters. He knows where He is taking you, and He will get you there. Even if the route seems circuitous at times.

Aaron was apparently going to bring back Sam Seaborn, going to resolve the cliff-hanger at the end of Season Four very differently. (Who knows, maybe we'd have even seen Donna's answer to Amy's question.) But He wasn't there to do it. That will not happen for you: the Author of your faith is also the Perfecter of it, the Finisher of it. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.

He will not leave you. He has not left you.


mrsmodcs said...

First of all Thanks! I was so blessed by this! Secondly, I TOTALLY agree about the change in WW after AS left! I'm just finishing Season 4 (about my 10th time seeing it) and I'm dreading moving to season 5. Thanks Claire!

pete wilson said...

Thanks for the book mention. So glad you're enjoying it!!

Claire said...

Wow - great to see you stop by and say hi! Yes, I'm finding it so helpful - I've just read the chapter that challenges you to live as though you really believed God was with you. That was great - never quite heard anyone put it like that before! Life-changing stuff!