Like movies, Stephanie and I had been really getting into TV shows. We suspect it’s because they are becoming more serial and thus more like long movies just cut into weekly segments. Anyway, one of those shows we watched together was Glee. I’ve been trying to catch up on the shows I missed throughout this month, and finally decided to start watching Glee. The episode I had to start with is called Grilled Cheesus and aired two days after Stephanie’s crippling seizure. I mention the air date because of the story and because it originally aired while I was in the midst of everything going on. Part of me wishes I saw it then. Part of me is glad I didn’t.
I won’t recommend the show because of some sexual content I don’t care for (including this episode), but it was a poignant episode for me for a couple reasons. One of the main characters found himself dealing with the fact that his dad had a lack of oxygen to the brain which caused a heart attack. The story was the same: doctors didn’t know if he would wake up, what kind of damage might have been done by the lack of oxygen, etc. What was vastly different was that this character (Kurt) very much doesn’t believe in God and they made that point throughout the episode.
I could easily go through the episode scene by scene, but this post would be forever long, so I’ll avoid that. I was struck initially by the first song of the episode – “Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel. Really, what more can I say about that? Secondly, Kurt just wants his dad to squeeze his hand if he can hear him. Stephanie, upon coming out of her seizures would often squeeze my hand to let me know she heard me and was okay and often with three squeezes to say “I love you.” How difficult it can be to have a lack of touch!
Much of this episode presented the idea that there’s no reason to believe in God. Kurt says, “I appreciate your thoughts, but I don’t want your prayers.” I have felt much the opposite. I need your prayers. And while I appreciate your thoughts, it’s the prayers that are really getting me through. Kurt also sends his friends away when they’re in the hospital praying for his dad, in order to have acupuncture done because “pins pierce the skin better than psalms.” I couldn’t disagree more, and also couldn’t want people praying more and being around Stephanie. Someone had said to me that with all the people praying, God wouldn’t be able to stop hearing her name any moment throughout the day. And I still very much trust God more than any doctor or acupuncture specialist or any other human.
Another character (Finn) spends the episode praying to a cheese sandwich with the impression of Jesus on it, and says that he felt like he had a direct line to God because his prayers were being answered. After that’s over, he’s not sure how to feel. What I wanted to scream is, “You do have a direct line to God!”
The last thing to mention is the last song: “One of Us” by Joan Osborne. She says “What if God was one of us? Just a stranger on a bus? Just a slob like one of us?” and “If God had a name, what would it be?” My youth pastor in high school said regarding this song, “God was one of us.” That song has been so much more meaningful since he said that to me. God’s name was and is Jesus. Jesus was one of us. He was human and just like all of us. And I am reminded of that in these days. Jesus was forced to deal with all the wrong and all the badness of this world and all the hard situations. He lost a friend. He was betrayed. He was tortured. And He understands it all, and He understands what I’m going through right now, as well as what everyone else in the world is going through.
While watching Glee, it was hard to be reminded of so much of my situation, but I was even more just overwhelmed with grief and sadness for Kurt, who was missing out on so much more that God has for us when we just trust and believe and look to Him. I always thought that Christians have hope in death because we know that person is in Heaven. While that’s true, my bigger source of hope is in the fact that I know God has a plan for me. And even though I thought that plan would include Stephanie, I now know it doesn’t. But the plan does include me, and I have hope in that fact and hope in God for that.