Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Mantra: The Lucky Ones

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: "There is no wrong, there is no right, the circle only has one side." - Side by Travis
Christo Makatita
Spoiler Alert: If you haven't seen The Leftovers, or are in the middle of it and haven't seen the final episode, let me warn you- I'm about to spoil the ending so stop reading this now. If you don't care and/or have no plans to watch it (which is a shame, it's amazing) proceed...

Recently, I stumbled upon The Leftovers, a short three season fictional show that starts with 2% of the world's population vanishing into thin air- poof. Over the course of the series, a lot of crazy and fascinating things happen. There is a man, Holy Wayne, who says he can take away people's sadness through hugs. There is a cult group, the Guilty Remnant, that serves as a living reminder of the suddenly departed (the term they use for all those who vanished), who haunts the townspeople with cruel antics. There is the town sheriff, Kevin Garvey, who is trying to hold his family together while dealing with his own special set of sleepwalking circumstances.

There are normal people and crazy people and desperate people, but there are mostly devastated, sad, uncertain people who are trying to find meaning where it does not exist. This is what the show focuses on; what grief does to people and how they handle it. What it's like to live with no answers and a constant worry that you could lose someone you love, again.

It's absolutely one of the best things I've ever seen in my life.

It makes you feel. It makes you crazy. It makes you angry and frustrated and devastated, right along with everyone else. It makes you understand grief and loss in ways you might not have considered. 

You learn right away that no one knows what happened in the Sudden Departure. No one can tell you how or why 140 million people all over the world vanished into thin air. You learn that most people lost one or two family members. You learn that in one town, and one town only, no one vanished at all.

While watching the series, I toyed around with ideas of where everyone went: Maybe they all somehow became invisible and were still on earth, but no one else could see or hear them. Maybe they were actually in heaven and earth was hell and judgement day had come and gone. Maybe it was an alien abduction. So many possibilities!

In the very last episode of the show, seven years after the sudden departure, you get an answer as to where everyone went. It's a remarkably well done final episode, I must say. You are perplexed and astounded and given the closure you need, while at the same time your breath is stolen in the answer you receive.

Nora, a wife and mother of two, had her entire family vanish; her husband and two children. She's struggled to adjust, but no matter how hard she tries, she can't. Eventually, she is approached by scientists who have created a machine that can transport her to wherever everyone else went. They still don't know where this place actually is or if anyone survives once they go there, they just know how to get her there. She pays them the fee, steps into the machine, and she's gone.

What she discovered was an identical world. An exact carbon copy. She finds herself in the same place, at the same time, in the same year that she just came from, just without a single person around. She walks and walks until she comes to a house, where she meets a man and woman who explain everything to her. Seven years ago 98% of the world vanished into thin air.

You see, in the world Nora was left in, she was one of the lucky ones. This is what she realizes.

This is the part in the show where my jaw did the whole dropping open thing. I hadn't considered this idea. That both parties, the 2% and the 98%, had experienced the exact same thing, just in their own separate ways. 

If you only lost 2% of the world, as the show focuses on, you still have all of your resources. You can still go to the doctor, fly on a plane, proceed as normally as you possibly can. Yet those people in this show, the leftovers, with all of their resources that still remain, have a hard time (understandably) moving on. They have the luxury of being able to struggle with their loss, and that's what you don't realize at first. 

Wasting time is not a luxury for the people on the carbon copy planet who lost 98% of the population. While they still have the technology of today, they have lost skilled laborers. As Nora explains, there are planes but there are very few pilots, so it takes a very, very, very long time to get anywhere. It takes a very, very, very long time to do a lot of things. On the twin planet, where only 2% of the population remains, resources are scarce. 

They were the lucky ones - Nora and Kevin and Holy Wayne and the Guilty Remnant. They were so consumed by what they lost that instead of banding together and making everything better, collectively supporting and comforting one another, they kept destroying themselves instead. 

It makes me think about how we do that to each other now. How we don't always see the blessings that come our way, the luck of a situation. How we, instead, focus on the negative. How we make things even worse. How we judge and separate and divide. How we fail to recognize we're all in this together.

I hope one day we realize we're the lucky ones. 

I hope we start acting like it and helping those who may not have had quite as much luck. 

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