I will post the second part of the Power of Story Telling next. However, this week I wanted to tackle something a bit different.
The Doctor: Amy Pond. The Girl Who Waited. All night in your garden. Was it worth it?
Amy: Shut up. Of course it was.
I just have to state I love Amy Pond. I enjoyed how sassy she was, her sarcastic and sharp wit, and her fearlessness in questioning the Doctor. I can’t really relate to her all that much at least physically-I mean she is tall, beautiful, and a redhead. Physically, not much in common with this short Puerto Rican girl. However, I can relate to her moniker, “The Girl Who Waited.” I think a lot of us can. One of the theological ideas I missed ever since I left my Pentecostal background has come back to the fore as I watch Doctor Who. I remember believing whole heartedly in an interventionist God-a deity who often got involved (when he felt like it of course) in our everyday problems. I grew up hearing stories of how God saved a kid from choking, how he miraculously healed one person from cancer, how he prevented someone from getting onto a plane/train/etc that would eventually crash and kill everyone on board. God was always just a prayer away. I could tell Him my smallest fears-from not getting a good grade (which, when you are trying to get into college and get some scholarship money, is not necessarily a small fear) to asking for help with my depression, I believed whole heartedly in a God who not only listened and cared, but who actively got involved. I got a good grade, well clearly God helped me retain more of the information I needed. I had to present in class, well duh the Holy Spirit will be with me and ensure I say the right thing. But soon I started to question things. If God really, truly intervened, why he didn’t he stop my mom’s mental and emotional abuse? If God saved this one person from cancer, why can’t he save the hundreds/thousands of children dying of various diseases in the third world?
It wasn’t simply a matter of well, God couldn’t get involved and he couldn’t save these people/stop a certain event from happening. With the Doctor, one could argue he is a limited deity figure. He acts all knowing and all powerful, and he certainly has more capabilities than human beings, but he messes up. He makes mistakes. People die. The deity figure I believed so reverently when I was younger, could get involved, could save people, could stop horrible things from happening. But he chose not to for whatever reason. I know, I’ve mentioned this before, so forgive me if I keep harping on this. But I think the reason why I continue write about this in varying degrees in this blog is because, despite my saying I no longer believe in such a God I continue to wait for one to show up. I have continued to wait for the omnipotent, omnipresent, omnificent God of my youth to show up, to heal me, to stop all this pain and violence.
Amy Pond, was obsessed with her imaginary friend. She drew dozens of pictures of the Doctor, she made Rory dress up like him, she told countless stories about him to her friends, family, and classmates. She was told over and over again, he wasn’t real yet she never stopped waiting. As a result, even though she physically grew up, she was a bit stunted emotionally. No matter how tall, no matter how old she got, she was still that little girl who got left behind when a crazy man in a blue box appeared and then told her he would be back in five minutes. She was the girl who waited. Yet in her case, her madman and imaginary friend came back. He took her (and later on, Rory) on fantastic adventures, they traveled to different planets, they saved the universe together and they saw so much death and destruction.
How could I not love that story? Even in the earlier seasons, I fell in love with the story of a god-like figure who saved earth again and again. But with Amy, the story resonated with me in a way that the earlier seasons hadn’t (though I love them). I wanted the God of my youth to somehow show up (not literally as the Doctor did, though that would be helpful…) and let me know he was there. I wanted him to be my best friend. If I switch between the past and present tense it’s because, I still struggle with that yearning and that desire.
Those who are Biblical literalists will dismiss my words and say, “oh he’s still there. You need to believe.” But I’m sorry, I’ve done too much research, I’ve studied the Bible too much, I’ve seen so much pain and suffering, that I can no longer accept such an inadequate response. Blind faith is no longer enough for me. I don’t mean to be dismissive of those who hold on to a Fundamentalist world view, but for me that world view is no longer adequate enough to explain the world I live in. I can’t go back and unlearn what I have learned, no matter how much I want to, I can’t go back.
And as manipulative and violent as the God of my youth could be, he was always in a very weird way my best friend. He was the one I turned to when I felt no one else understood. He was the one I could tell my deepest darkest secrets too. But he never showed up. And he will never show up because he doesn’t exist. (I know others will argue against that, but this is what I believe). Amelia Pond never stopped waiting, but her imaginary friend showed up. And I love that story. I have been waiting for my theological equivalent of a mad man in a blue box to come down, take me off on fantastic adventures, and save the day. But in my case I think it’s time I stopped waiting.