None of it is yours to keep

Have you noticed how for any TV or film series, the people who will most hate some part of it are almost always among the biggest fans of the series? It’s the people who have watched Doctor Who for years that will be most negative about the new Doctor, it’s the people who grew up on the Original Trilogy that will hate the prequels, and it’s the people who most love the 80s originals that most detest the unnecessary remakes. Why?

Because after a while, we begin to feel that something is owed to us. We know and like the previous Doctor. We knew what he was like and we loved him. We set up expectations, and then demands upon the future. The series must conform to my will. That’s not to say we want it predictable… just, unpredictable in the usual ways…

This sense of ownership, that the producers owe us, ruins the whole thing. Our expectations set us up for disappointments, and our imaginary debts set us up for outrage. And have you observed, how the angry superfans hold out a long time, before they let it go and get on with their lives? The torment can go on for years.

But the truth is, the world doesn’t owe us anything. It’s all a gift. If it’s not what we thought we wanted, it may be better, and if not, there is no injustice in that.

We want control over our lives, because we’re afraid. We’re afraid that the world will turn on us. Our experiences confirm, that all things are subject to decay and death, and so all will abandon us. So, we imagine that the things we are given are somehow under our power, that they are meant to meet our expectations, that they are subject to our demands. But this delusion doesn’t liberate us; rather, it only causes us to suffer.

So we ditch the delusion; but what do we do about decay and death and the world abandoning us? We accept this fear, but we meet it with hope. Hope that the next Doctor will be even better. Hope that the next episode will be good. Hope that those who truly live in the face of death will rise again, overcoming the futility of life.

Hope is not expectations, or demands, or imaginary debts, or mindless optimism. It is entrusting your future to God’s generous love.

In the face of a dying world, we look to Jesus, who says he is, “the Resurrection and the Life”, and we follow him to the cross. We cannot hold on to anything in this world; we do not truly possess even our own lives; we must relinquish our illusory and oppressive control, and live in constant gratitude, love, freedom and hope.

God bless you

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