Grace Anatomy

Raise your hand and jump up and down like a girl if you are super excited for the season premier of Grey’s Anatomy tonight!!  I know, I know, it’s only a tv show. Maybe it’s because, though the calendar says fall, it is still 100+ degress in the valley of the sun, and i’ll cling to anything that reminds me a new season has begun. Technically. Maybe it’s because my whole family has been feeling crummy for the past few weeks, and I’m looking forward to some vegging out time after the kids are asleep…

Or maybe I’m so excited simply because I forget these characters are fictional, and i start to miss them. As if they were my actual friends. Some combination of all these things, yes. Also, add to these factors the truth that, all summer long, i have been watching the show from the beginning on Netflix. I was a late-comer to the primetime fan base, so i wanted to catch all of the earlier episodes in the proper order. i figured, when it’s too hot to play outside and there’s nothing new or real on tv, start from the pilot and power through.

As with any series, watching from the beginning when you know what will inevitably come next, adds a great deal of dimension to the viewing experience. In good shows—-wherein characters actually evolve and take shape and develop multi-layered plot lines–starting from day 1 and moving through several seasons is almost like re-reading a favorite book. It’s a visit with people you  know. Except this time, you get to watch their journey unfold from the beginning, knowing what lies in store for them. For better or worse.

When I got to the Cristina Yang left-at-the-altar episode, I remembered how sad that moment was when it was new. It was a fresh break-up wound that much of America endured together. We bonded over it. No more Burke and Cristina?? What are we going to DO???  But watching it this time around, i just kept thinking…Owen Hunt, Owen Hunt, Owen Hunt…and it was not nearly so awful! Yes, she was crushed. She was wearing a dress she hated. She had no eyebrows.  And yet, from the omniscient perspective of re-run land, it was a necessary sacrifice on the way to true love. In the form of a hot military surgeon!

Sometimes I think this must be how God views our lives–from an omniscient perspective, knowing that every loss, frustration, hardship and fumble is carrying us, ultimately, to some other place. Not to say that God causes said loss or hardship…but rather, is working, always, for our good. Moving us, in every time and place, toward the place of our calling, our love, our most whole self.

As we watch reruns of our favorite shows, we are reminded of the transforming grace at work in our own lives, and the powerful rhythm of spirit timing. In every season, we can trust that something good and holy is taking shape, in and for us. Even if it lies beneath the surface (and even if it is not always in the shape of a hot army doc…)

True, there’s an element of sadness in watching George struggle through the early years. He deals with feelings of ineptitude, chronic lady trouble, loss and grief… and watching it again, knowing what happens next, i just want to say…”dude, there is a big ol’ BUS coming for you. Life is short! Quit sweating the small stuff.”  There’s also a great deal of anxiety in watching events unfold that lead up to the mass shooting episode. You know where i am…just 2 episodes before Michael O’Niel wreaks havoc and heartbreak on Seattle Grace. [A side note--did it bother anybody else that the president's top secret service advisor came on in such a terrifying role? we'll save the gospel of the West Wing for another day, but that particular casting choice was disturbing to me...] Knowing what comes next, I have been avoiding the next episode. It’s like I don’t want to turn the page.

And yet, for every moment of pain and suffering that unfolds from season to season, a life is saved; a baby is born; Alex Karev turns out to have a soul, after all. And somewhere, there is a strong, compassionate, (though a little post-traumatic stressed out doctor,) waiting in the wings for the heroine. Here’s hoping that good things continue to unfold for my favorite dark and twisty doctor girls. Because really, things weren’t looking so great for either of them at the end of last season. It’s not a fairy tale, and it’s not always pretty…but don’t we know by now? Have we not seen, have we not heard? Good things come to us in good time. Even cooler weather and new episodes…

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About Erin Wathen

Rev. Erin Wathen is the Senior Pastor of Saint Andrew Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Olathe, KS (www.sacchome.org). She's a Kentucky native, a long-time desert dweller, and she writes about the sacred thread that runs through pretty much everything. For more info, click the 'about' tab above...


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