I love watching This Is Us. The characters have such depth, their relationships are so meaningful, and there is so much poignancy in every episode that I challenge myself not to cry and fail. Every. Single. Time. But that is part of the allure. It’s easy to connect with This Is Us so deeply because we all have known loss on some level and we delight in such a beautiful, loving portrayal of family.
Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), the ideal father, loves his wife Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and his three children beyond all measure, they are his everything he says. In return, the children worship their father, and it is easy to see why. He is an amazing father and husband, but he also suffers from addiction. (Spoiler alert!)But what happens to his children and wife when he dies? If This Is Us is all there is, then the recurrent theme of death that weaves throughout it is one of hopelessness and fear. There is no eternity, only people who hold our memories, and then even they will die and our memory with them. The children and wife in This Is Us have placed their ideal father and husband on high and the negative repercussions of that echo throughout the rest of the children’s lives and into their children’s lives as well. Family is a wonderful gift, but it is only a reflection of a much deeper relationship that has existed before time and space, that between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Ten years ago, I came home from work to find that the house seemed as if we had been robbed. Our house had been ransacked and one of our dogs was missing, while our other dog was clearly distraught. Slowly, I began to realize that only my husband’s things were missing, as was he. He had left a note telling me he loved me dearly but he could never love God enough or be loved by God and so he had to leave us both. I had raised my husband up higher than anything in my life and worshiped him and the deep love I had for him. When he left, my world came crashing down and my heart broke into a million pieces. I lost my job, my house, most of my belongings, my turtles, my ferrets, and my cats. I left my church family and also became estranged from my biological family for many years. I had no one and I lost everything. This is how I know what it feels like to be in a house that’s burning down around me.
I told God I hated Him for what He could not prevent; I blasphemed Him and denied Him. I ran away from Him. For years, I tried to convince myself that I could believe the lie that This Is Us portrays: That all we have is each other and when that is gone there is nothing and we are all alone. But then something amazing happened. I began to realize I was not alone. No matter how hard I tried I could not shake Jesus. And I tried! Do you have any idea how exhausting it is to argue with the creator of the universe? Ultimately, I gave in and let God back into my life. I have never been alone again. When I understood that the fear of death had no power over me anymore and I was loved beyond all comprehension, my life began to bloom again in glorious color. I love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind, and He will never forsake me.
This Is Us is one of the best shows I have seen, but it always leaves me filled with a deep sadness and wanting something more. I wish I could share with Kevin, Kate and Randall (and the millions of viewers) the peace that fills my heart and exists because Christ has been victorious over Death. Death has lost its sting; I am no longer chained to fear and I rejoice in a life that has no ending.
Reality Changing Observations:
Q1. Do you cry at the end of every episode of This Is Us? Why or why not?
Q2. What does it feel like when you think about your death or the death of your loved ones?
Q3. How do you think This Is Us will end?