One of the joys from this summer has been hanging out with grandson Dayan several times a week, eating lunch together, chatting and watching Doctor Who episodes. At 16, he is growing up, forming plans and goals for his life, driving for goodness sakes! I am honored that he chooses to set aside time for us to spend together. The conversations that we have are some of the most meaningful that I have ever had.
Today we ate Chinese food while completing Season 4 of the new Doctor Who. This was a day I had been dreading, much as I love this series. The 10th Doctor regenerated during the final episode, becoming the 11th Doctor, which was significant in that David Tennant stepped aside for Matt Smith to take the title role. I have become a huge fan of this Scottish actor and I love his portrayal of the traveling Time Lord. The inevitable happened, while we watched. And I survived the loss and the change. I am sure I will come to appreciate Matt Smith as well.
The most remarkable part of the afternoon was talking with Dayan in between episodes and after the season finale. Shows like Star Trek and Doctor Who are not just sci-fi fantasies about aliens and marvelous new worlds. They are the backdrops to exploring not only space, but human nature, the human heart and soul. Humanity’s greatest strengths and greatest frailties are revealed as the characters go on adventures each week, battle enemies, rescue others.
I shared with Dayan a meme that I found recently, that spoke in deep ways about the various Doctors as they regenerate. That meme has stayed with me, as it also speaks deeply about the growth of the human soul. It is easier, perhaps, to watch the transformation take place on the TV screen. This larger than life character called The Doctor is changed, and not just physically, by his interactions with life, the journey, and the companions he travels with. He is also impacted by those who cross his path for a short time, especially when they are lost to him afterward. Every experience, every person he encounters shapes him, for better or for worse, depending on his response or reaction. I can see that as I watch, and I rejoice with him, and grieve with him as he journeys.
The 9th Doctor is born from war, and it shows in his somberness and his aggressiveness. However, he meets Rose and his hearts (both of them) open and he falls in love. The 10th Doctor is born from love and he is joyful, playful, affectionate. He experiences great loss, however, ending up alone. Doctor 11 is born from solitude. Since I am just getting to know the 11th Doctor I rely on Dayan to tell me, he is lonely, vulnerable, wistful, child-like. He travels with great companions and meets someone who awakens his desire to love again. The 12th Doctor is born from hope. He is wiser, older. I look forward to meeting him one day soon.
I can translate what I see, watching Doctor Who, into my own life. While I don’t change my face and body as I grow and journey, I transform, I shift, I am born. I wish I could actually travel back in time, and snap pictures of myself, during the phases I have moved through, but my words will have to suffice and create the picture. My earliest thoughts of myself and of the world were born from fear. I was afraid of everything….the dark, being alone, my gifts, the things I could see and hear that others couldn’t, of being too much or not enough. I learned to control my emotions, to control the fear, to attempt to control life and the beyond.
I was born from stoicism. I learned to endure the pain of isolation, the fear of life and the spirit world, and subdue my emotions. I was born of silence, which was seen as acceptance, agreement and meekness. Giving up my voice, I lost so much of my true self. I was born from discontent, tired of stifling who I was, what I thought, what I felt. It was the first step toward freedom and regaining my birth right. I was born from desire, as long suppressed emotions, and feelings pushed away, surged forth again, finding expression and creative outlets. I was born from hope, that it is never too late to open to life, open to myself, open to others. I was born from true acceptance, as fear fell away at last, along with the frantic need to control myself and life, allowing me to embrace who I was, fully, for the first time. Peace became a by product of that part of my journey.
I am born from joy. That is my companion now, along with solitude. I am open and learning and continuing to expand, as I journey. I see how I have been divinely guided and how my choices have affected every aspect of my life. I feel myself shifting yet again, much as The Doctor recognizes the signs that regeneration is about to take place and he will transform. Out of the pain and fear, the anxiety and discontent, some of my greatest growth has occured, and although my face remains the same, affected more by the length of time I have been a traveler, I am not the same person who began this journey. None of us are. I am being born, from love, a love that knows no limits.
Thank you, Doctor Who, for the deeper truths that are woven throughout the adventures and the stories. And thank you, Dayan, for your willingness to travel alongside and share the journey, share your heart, share your thoughts, and imagine with me what is possible in this incredible universe that we call home. Now….if we could just build us a TARDIS!