Six years ago, my wife and I binge-watched the first five seasons of LOST. It took four months. Many nights we watched three or four episodes in a sitting, sometimes as a way to pass the time while my wife was feeding our infant daughter… or because we hadn’t finished the package of Oreos yet. Other times compelled by a look or a glance to “keep watching,” a willingness to relinquish the joy of teasing out possible meanings.
This caught us up for season six. But like the rest of the LOST audience had been, we were then dangled out over the cliff for an entire week, week after week. I locked myself into a habit of trolling message boards and meditating over the copious and astute Doc Jensen recaps. I lived, agonized by this hope of what could happen.
This comes to my mind now whenever Pentecost approaches. Maybe you can see where I’m going. How I’m picturing the disciples living in a type of cliff-hanger following Ascension. Trying to figure out the meaning of Christ’s promise and exactly what they could expect.
It so happened that the final episode of LOST aired on Pentecost Sunday. At the time, I felt this was significant for plot reasons—the Season 6 cast photo staging “The Last Supper,” and the smoke monster’s desire to get uncorked from the island and into the real world. As the final episode played out, people felt abjectly betrayed, denied some hoped-for reality.
Awaiting the arrival of a sought after book, listening in the two years between a band’s albums, thinking a Patriot’s 19-0 season is a foregone conclusion, again and again I raise expectations for an experience or encounter. Then the book is disappointing, the album sounds like a group popular ten years ago, and David Tyree haunts my dreams. I think I should learn from this pattern. It leaves me falling in an abyss for weeks on end…like after Manningham reeled in that catch.
“To raise one’s hopes is to risk them falling further,” Anthony Doerr writes in All The Light We Cannot See. Yet, I can’t help but find myself continually uncorking expectations. Even when it leads to the despondence that was first and goal for the Seahawks on the one-yard line, or the slog of Doerr’s overwrought writing.
Where were the disciples after their second cliff-hanger in two months? Ten days of wandering in a gray world, lost, locked away? Was there ever the hope that the doors and windows would be thrown wide? Should I raise my own expectations when again and again I am let down? But I do. I always hope for a book or poem or song—or that interception—to erupt in me a fiery joy.