Tragedy and hope in the X-Files
by Steve Douglas
July 13th, 2012 | 1 Comment
They said the birds refused to sing and the thermometer fell suddenly, as if God himself had his breath stolen away. No one there dared speak aloud, as much in shame as in sorrow. They uncovered the bodies one by one. The eyes of the dead were closed, as if waiting for permission to open. Were they still dreaming of ice cream and monkey bars, of birthday cake, and no future but the afternoon? Or had their innocence been taken along with their lives, buried in the cold earth so long ago? These fates seemed too cruel even for God to allow. Or are the tragic young born again when the world’s not looking?
I wanna believe so badly in a truth beyond our own, hidden and obscured from all but the most sensitive eyes; in the endless procession of souls; in what cannot and will not be destroyed. I want to believe we are unaware of God’s eternal recompense and sadness; that we cannot see His truth; that that which is born still lives and cannot be buried in the cold earth, but only waits to be born again at God’s behest, where in ancient starlight we lay in repose.
from The X-Files, S7xE11, “Closure”
There is no theodicy; there is only the choice to wait and see.
My friends, you can keep your confidence about the ultimate meaninglessness of our lives and our love, the irredeemability of our pain and our sorrows, the ephemerality of all we hold dear, the transience of even Love itself. I’ll certainly not begrudge you your ability to keep a stiff upper lip while staring into that yawning gap (are your eyes really open?). I readily admit that I don’t have proof to the contrary.
But I stand with the majority of humanity throughout history and rest in the conviction that there is, must be, more than this. I doubt I could even be said to truly love anything whose immortality I do not undyingly await.
So please don’t hold it against me that I have chosen not to feign your practical certainty about the matter; forgive me for not even attempting to be contented by, much less in love with, such a universe as yours. There are times of such goodness and joy that that sort of universe doesn’t even seem plausible, times when existence itself seems too good a gift not to have been granted us by a good Giver. But in the other times, when confronted with the most horrific scenes that humanity or nature can paint, I will not give pat answers or cheap apologetics. I’m not in denial; I know exactly what it looks like. But I will wait and see.