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Monday, August 26, 2013

Unlikely Meditation on a TV Show

I watch a TV program called “Person of Interest.” I never thought it to be particularly profound until an episode recently woke me up to a quite remarkable spiritual insight. What a surprise! The theme of the series is that the government has a spy machine that “listens in” on everybody every moment of the day. It was invented to warn of possible terrorist acts.

But it also kicks out the names of those due to be involved in some kind of danger of imminent demise due to some impending act of violence, either as perpetrator or victim. The government considers these people irrelevant but the inventor of the machine and his ex-assassin cohort have decided to come to the aid of those whose “number comes up.”

 In this particular episode, the hero assassin tracks down the new number, a doctor, and attends the ceremony where the scientist is awarded a high honor. The doctor suddenly collapses, poisoned by the celebratory glass of wine he drank. The hero was able to revive the doctor with an antidote and together they track down the killer during the ensuing hour. However, it turns out the poison has been in his system too long and the hero suddenly realizes, at the close of the show, that the doctor had now only minutes more to live.

 The hero sat with the scientist to keep him company as he was dying, and apologized for not being in time to save his life. “That’s okay,” said the doctor, patting the hero’s arm affectionately. “Thanks for giving me ‘another shot.’” Puzzled, the hero looked quizzically at the scientist, thinking that maybe he didn’t fully realize he was actually dying. “Another shot?” Smiling, the doctor pointed to the sky, waved his hand to frame the beauty of the last sunset he would ever enjoy, as he repeated, “another shot.” I have thought about that moment of insight ever since.

It has become a sort of gratitude meditation throughout my day. Every once in a while I’ll notice some lovely cloud formation, some happy scene of neighborliness, some bright blue flower on my way to the mailbox—any small piece of life around me. With renewed awareness, I take the time to really see it. I take the time to experience it fully, to be there with all of me all the way to savor the pure joy of it. “Wow,” I’ll recognize this great gift of Creation of which I am privileged to be a small part, now firmly re-connected. “Thanks for giving me another shot.”

 Isn’t that all we have anyway? Perhaps we needn’t focus on decrying our dwindling years, our decline brought about by age or illness. We don’t have life by the year, or by the decade anyway, do we? All we ever really have is “another shot.” So if any of you out there happen to know the source of this singular line, please tell the writer for me how grateful I am to have heard it. Tell him I said “Thanks for giving me ‘another shot.’”