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Posts tagged ‘Jean-Luc Picard’

A Lesson From Jean-Luc Picard

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Image via Wikipedia

I am a Trekkie.  I admit it.  I’ve been a fan since the 60’s when Kirk, Spock and McCoy were first roaming around the galaxy.  I remember watching the show on a black and white TV – and then moving to a color set sometime later.  This show was in reruns on cable for years after and when I heard that they were going to start “The Next Generation” series in the late 80’s – I was not interested in watching it – being loyal to Kirk, Spock and McCoy – but after it came to an end – some seven seasons later – we started seeing it in reruns and got caught up into it.  Now I am a fan – and own all seven seasons on DVD – as well as ALL the Star Trek movies 🙂

One story in particular from “Next Generation” has always been interesting to me.  It is an episode in which Captain Picard receives an opportunity to go back into his past and change things.

Time travel has always been an intriguing notion for me.  I love the “Back to the Future” trilogy with Michael J. Fox and pretty much any movie that deals with that subject.  And I mean, who doesn’t want to see what life was really like for your parents or grandparents?  I’m sure it wasn’t all “pie in the sky” as they sometimes try to tell us.  People are people with the same inclinations and temptations – in any decade or century since the beginning of time.

In the episode where Captain Picard goes back in time – it is to change a circumstance in which he got into a bar fight as a young cadet – and in that fight had a sword put through his heart – and would have died if there had not been an artificial heart (only in the 23rd century people).  And though he was grateful to be alive with that heart – it was not without its problems as with any technology.  So “Q” takes him back to “fix” the mess that got him into that fight to begin with.

Ultimately he learns a lesson about himself. It was his feisty and competitive nature that got him into that fight – but also propelled him into opportunity for his future.  He was a risk taker and someone who lived on the edge.  He was not afraid to go after things with gusto and dare to excel in places that most would not.  When armed with the knowledge of the future events about his artificial heart – he goes back to the past – determined to avoid the fight and keep his heart in tact.  But because of his new cautiousness – everything in his life changes in the future. He jumps to the “present” after carefully avoiding the bar fight – and now in an “alternate future” – with his own heart – he finds himself on-board the enterprise once again – only this time he is NOT the Captain – but a lowly ensign. He overhears his “superiors” doing a review of him – and they say that he is a nice man – but one who has always been careful – and afraid to take a risk. It was too bad, they said – he had a lot of promise.

This is the worse thing that you could ever say about Jean-Luc – and he repents of wanting to go back and “fix” his past – just so he could have his real heart. He gladly accepts his fate as part of his journey for being himself and following his heart – so to speak 🙂

How many of us face a similar crisis of faith?  Faith that things happen in life and along our journey because it is the way it needs to be? There is a rhythm to our lives and only God knows the back story and our future story and all the reasons for things in between.  When we try to “fix” things – we are never successful.  It is like gambling about our future and not having the right cards.  Never a good idea.

All of us were given character traits and gifts.  If we are using them as God intended – we are going to have things that happen to us along the way.  Things that are uncomfortable – and things that we would sometimes like to change.  But because we don’t see the “big picture” of all of our events, like God does – changing things in our past would only be harmful and leave us feeling empty and be a life squandered. There is a reason things happen as they do.  It’s taken me many years to be comfortable with that knowledge – and just when I think I really do understand it – I slip back into the “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME??” thing again.

God knows all about our lives.  Things come to us to shape us and make us who we are. Those hard and painful things – are more than just inconveniences and things to avoid – I believe in every one of them – there is a lesson. And I am grateful for all of them – for the friends I’ve had to say goodbye to – for the situations that I had to go through, but them ultimately walk away from – for the uncomfortable process of learning more about myself and others – and for separation from things and people who I really thought I couldn’t live without.  Through all of these things – there has been a reason.

And in all of this I say, “Thank you Lord – for your blessings – through the storms of my life.  For the things that have made me who I am today.  For the additions and the subtractions of my life – for the pain and regret – the friendships and loss – for all of it  – Thank you”

I want to live my life with the unswerving conviction – that all things happen for a reason – and not live with regret – but press forward – using everything that God has given me – unafraid to take those risks and try new things – those things that make me uniquely – me.

God Bless

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