I just sent out an email notifying a few contestants that they were runners-up in the contest. I think narrowing it down to the “finalists” was the hardest part of this. I had flagged entries, in my inbox, of ones I liked. Well, that left me at 46 entries.
What was the difference in making the finalist cut? I think it varied from entry to entry. Some made me laugh, some were poignant, some went off the board a bit, and some were straight forward in their response.
I know some of you may be disappointed. There were a lot of great entries. It was hard to narrow down the people on “the list”.
102 to 46 to 15
(Just smiled because the 15 was not planned.)
Here are 14 of the 15 finalists. You might have read their entry before. The entries below are not arranged in any particular order. The winner will be announced later. Let me know what you think!
Live Together, Die Alone. It’s more than just the title of an episode, it really speaks to the state of the world as we know it. Much like on the island, everyone in the “real world” seems to want to splinter off, choose sides and battle until they can force everyone to think just like they do. It’s sad, but the struggle for the island between Jack and Locke, or The Others and the Dharma Initiative is no different than the struggles in the Middle East or the fight over our global economy. For true peace we must learn to live together or we risk dying alone.
Change. That the life we’ve lived is not the one we have to lead. That we are in control of who we are and who we can become. That whether society had labeled us a convict, or an addict, a sinner, or a saint, the person underneath is always much more complicated. That in the end, we are always given a choice. Fight or flight? Live together or die alone? Only when we take responsibility for our own actions can we make this choice, and not let others make it for us. Because really, who the hell are you to tell me what I can’t do?
LOST has changed my life. I was once tremendously afraid of polar bears and other members of the bear community. They are terrifying. Once I watched LOST, a sense of calm came over me. Seeing Sawyer blast that polar bear and seeing Locke hairspray torch another one empowered me. It gave me strength to face my fears and finally battle them, bears I mean. I no longer look behind my back when hunting for boars. I no longer fear seeing charging bear visions in my sweat lodge. I am a hunter, not a gatherer.
Like the characters, each of us has a lot of issues in our past, some resolved, some unresolved. Some things we had control over, some we didn’t. There are some choices that in the same situation, we would make again, and others that we would take an immediate do over on, if only we had the opportunity. Each of us, has moments in our past that haunt us, things we did, that even we did not know we were capable of. Your past does not have to define who you are today. At this moment, you can choose differently and create a new definition of who you are.
Like Sun, I am quiet but fierce.
Like Claire, my first and last thoughts of the day are with my baby.
Like Juliet, I saw the way you looked at her (and smashed open a nuclear bomb to express my rage).
Like Rousseau, isolation leads to mental chat and crazy hair.
Like Nikki, I am sometimes unbelievably, incredibly stupid.
Like Cassidy, I’ve been conned, but live on.
Like Penny, I won’t give up.
Like Kate, I don’t always know what I want.
Like Eloise, I know what you’re going to do before you do it.
Like Fate, I am a fickle bitch.
LOST applies itself to my life in a pretty significant way every day. One of the steady themes through the show has been ‘daddy issues’. Being the son of an alcoholic and adulterer, you can either grow up destined to repeat your father’s mistakes, or be conscientious enough to do the opposite. When my daughter was born, I made a life decision to be a better father for her. Is Jack destined to end up like Christian? Am I destined to end up like my father? I don’t think so. I believe our path is chosen by us ourselves.
My older brother introduced me to LOST. When the show started, I was never into it. He graduated high school and joined the army. Two Christmases ago, he made me watch the show. It was amazing! Those few moments together created a bond between us two; we shared a common passion now. He was stationed outside of Baghdad during the 4th season. I would wait to watch the show and we would plan to watch together when he could be home. He was killed this year and won’t be home anymore. I will always cherish those moments.
The one thing that Lost has taught me is that having Faith is one thing in life that can get you through anything. Locke never gave up his faith in the island. The last two years of my life have been quite difficult (with my own medical problems). Lost has been my little escape from that. It strengthened my Faith in God and myself and enabled me to pursue a treatment in which science has no faith. Little by little I am getting better. I will never give up my Faith or my hope to redeem my life.
This is probably the generic response, but it’s the numbers that have impacted my life the most. When I watched LOST, I didn’t realize it, but the numbers were slowly creeping into my mind. Whether my test number happens to be four, or I see eight fifteen within a license plate, I instantly think of LOST. My mind makes me include them in everything I do; I play with the numbers, I think with the numbers, I even just write them down, and I don’t know why. Yet I don’t find it annoying, I find it quite interesting. Dude. That makes this story… one hundred and eight words.
Don’t tell me what I can’t do—
for I’ve looked into the eye of this island
and what I saw was beautiful.
Everything that happened here,
happened for a reason.
I live in the real world.
I’m not a big believer in magic.
But this is different.
We all feel it. We hunt. We struggle.
But struggle is nature’s way of strengthening.
Why is it so hard for you to believe?
I looked down the barrel of the gun and I believed.
But I’m tired of waiting.
We have to go back.
We’ll never be free.
This is our destiny.
I’ve learned that a show that intertwines a rich literary based mythology treats its audience as intelligent consumers can entertain a worldwide audience. Which I’ve applied in how I communicate my faith across varied media. We may disagree about relationships, theories, characters, but the common love of the show, and it’s intricate way of weaving a story that combines elements of fate, destiny, and meaning of life can breed friendships with people of many backgrounds. It’s a challenge to me, to try to better communicate my faith in a way that is attractive and engaging to people that might not share my same values, and begin a conversation.
As simple as it sounds, I have learned that above all else, LOVE is by far the strongest power on the planet. Stronger than a hydrogen bomb, electromagnetism, or an incurable disease. Stronger than a dufflebag full of money, 16 years of isolation, or a monster made of smoke. Stronger than a leap from a helicoptor or your consciousness traveling through time. Even stronger than a rushing torrent of water. I mean, Charlie could have swam back out of the looking glass station after it flooded, but he didn’t. Why? Because of his LOVE for Claire. That’s powerful stuff. It’s good to know it’s out there. For everyone.
The most misunderstood character on LOST is Sawyer. He’s been afraid to love and has felt cold and alone since witnessing the deaths of his parents. I too, had been afraid to love because of a horrible relationship filled with lies and deceit. I had felt trapped under pain and isolated myself from any sort of faith. Watching Sawyer regain his faith in love by finding Juliet, through all his suffering, helped realize that regardless of what I have endured, love will always save me. I’ve recently fallen in love with my dream girl and we will marry this spring.
When I watch Lost I question what people say. I look for clues to uncover someone’s story and now I do that in my everyday life. Everyone’s actions and feelings are a result of what they have been through. This has caused me to listen more carefully to people and made me more understanding. It has made me realize that people do things for a reason and you can’t get mad at someone for being the way they are. We all make mistakes and bad decisions and this is what shapes who we are and become. It doesn’t mean we are bad people, it means we are human.