Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lessons on Dreams from Scrubs and Chrono Trigger

Probably the biggest lesson that ever came out of the TV series Scrubs is that not everything you want is something you really want, or something you should have. For approximately three seasons we see the lead character J.D. chasing his friend Elliot romantically. They have an on-and-off relationship (marked, mind you, by many incidents that probably aren’t the favorite of morally conservative Christianity.) However, near the end of the show's first three years, they finally attain some sort of secured "relationship." Immediately after they solidify their relationship, J.D. pauses for one of the show's trademark inner monologues (I'm paraphrasing here.)

"The trouble with guys that want what they can't have is, once they get it, they realize they don't want it." A few moments pass, and then J.D. suddenly realizes that "I don't want her!" So what he chases for three years without much success, he finally gets—and then he finds he doesn't really want it after all! What a predicament to be in.

Sometimes I wish Chrono Trigger had been a movie instead of a video game. Not only would it be automatically more respected (a state of culture that I'm not quite in sync with) but there's at least one big lesson. In the game there's this floating Kingdom of Zeal (that's the real name, mind) whose queen and higher-ups are trying to control powers that it cannot control in order to allow its peoples advanced technology. To put it in perspective, these "powers" really consist of the main villian of the game. At any rate, when the characters are going through Zeal for the first time, they meet a creature who utters this sentence: "This is the eternal Kingdom of Zeal, where dreams can come true. But at what price?"

The ominous tone set by the creature's statement is very much validated by the fall of Zeal, quite literally from the sky, as a result of its attempts to control this great power, this main villian. I'm oversimplifying things a bit, but you probably get the idea. Zeal attains so much by way of manipulation of power that it turns out unable to control.

I think if we wanted to take some things away from these examples, as far as Christianity goes, we might say that we might allow ourselves the dreams God does not want for us, and might even attain them for awhile--but the price will be heavy and hard, and oftentimes the things we think we want leave us unfulfilled and wanting. And if we do not check ourselves, we find that the dreams we have may destroy us in the end. I go so far to say that, like the Queen of Zeal in Chrono Trigger, we sometimes think we can control our sin, and discover too late that it is the other way around.

Of course, there is a solution. It's not at all easy and it's never the most fun thing, but Scripture tells us "[b]ut seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:7 NIV)." We must seek the will of God before everything else--dreams, desires and all other things, even if they are not inherently sinful. There are, for reasons we often discover later, girls (or guys, but guys are running this blog) we are not supposed to be with, teams we aren't supposed to make, jobs we aren't supposed to land and opportunities we aren't really supposed to take. And naturally, if we are seeking the will of God, we ought to be avoiding trying to domesticate sin.