So I started watching a Netflix program yesterday called Stranger Things. It is one of those original series that they now produce, and I have to admit, I am totally hooked. It is a suspenseful, horror, sci fi kind of series. So basically, stuff I don’t tend to watch. I like suspense, but I stay away from horror, because it is not good for me. This one though had me hooked quickly, and I couldn’t figure out why? I wondered if it was because I so totally related to the setting. It is set in 1980, so I feel like I am looking at my childhood. (or at least Jr. High) The clothes, bikes, cars, homes, music and TV were all so familiar to me. I looked at clothes that I probably wore, and hairstyles that I totally had. In the show, I was in a setting that made so much sense to me. Not like Sesame Street. I know you are thinking, Sesame Street? How did we get here?
Well, when I was young, I did not like to watch it. Why? I don’t really know, but I think it had to do with the setting, and the fact that I was a fearful child. I grew up in a nice sunny California suburb, and it was not a very ethnically diverse neighborhood. So, when I looked at Sesame Street, I saw everything that my life was not. Kids of different races, row houses, apartment buildings, an urban playground. Where were the homes? Or the lawns where kids played? Even when we travelled to see family, their cities looked more like mine than what I saw on TV. It was so foreign to me, that I did not understand it, and consequently I just didn’t like it. Why would I have such a strong reaction? I really think it scared me. This is where we get into the fraidy cat description. It was the view of a fearful child. Like any person’s fear, it can cause a reaction of anger, hate, avoidance or dislike. I got over the fear the older I got, and so the dislike went away. I learned that there are different places and people in this world, and they each have something to teach me. When I gained understanding, I got over my fear and my dislike. It is disheartening to see so much fear today.
I won’t go into the story of the series as there is too much detail, but there was a scene that caught my attention. There is a boy who is stuck in a parallel dimension, among other happenings, and he is trapped. The town thinks he is lost or kidnapped. His mom comes to see that while he is not physically there, he is still in the home. He is able to use the electricity to turn on appliances, and lights to communicate with her. I won’t tell you how, just in case you want to watch for yourself, but it is compelling to watch this mom suspend her fear and her own knowledge of how things should work, to find another way of communicating.
There is another problem though. At that same moment, she is introduced to the creature that is in this parallel universe. It starts to come through the wall and she runs from the home, scared to death. As she grabs her keys and gets into her car to flee, she looks to her house and sees the lights flashing. She knows that her son is there. So instead of leaving she gets out of the car, and heads back to the house. We see her courage and resolve to face whatever she needs to, so that she can save her son.
I loved the first five episodes, and cannot wait to see what happens in the next four. It came to my mind this morning, because I was laughing at my reaction to it. I was trying to figure out why I thought it was so compelling to watch. Then it hit me. The themes that spoke to me, are things that are important today. The fear we feel looking at someone else’s reality, how we communicate or miscommunicate with each other, and our unwillingness to overcome those things for a greater purpose. Now I know why I liked it so much!
Is it weird to pray that God helps me to be like that Mom? Putting aside fear, communicating no matter how hard and choosing to be way out of my comfort zone to serve a higher purpose than my own. That would totally be my prayer. Frankly though, I just hope there are no monsters outside of my comfort zone?