My wife and I love the show This is Us. I am not saying that I agree with the spiritual lives or beliefs of any of its characters. I am saying that I think it is a remarkable television show. It is remarkable in that it captures a critical insight that I believe I often miss. I think we all miss it sometimes. That crucial truth? Everyone has a backstory. And, everyone’s backstory is different.
For those of you who’ve never watched This is Us, the show constantly pivots between the past, future, and present in the lives of every character introduced. The central figures are the members of the Pearson family. Jack and Rebecca are father and mother to three siblings, Kevin, Kate, and Randall. Kate and Kevin were fraternal twins, and their mom, Rebecca, lost the third child she was carrying during childbirth. Randall had been abandoned at birth and was left in front of a fire station before being brought to the hospital with the same birthdate as Kevin and Kate. Jack and Rebecca decide to adopt Randall. There are over 10 other characters because each of these people have relationships with others either in the past, present, or future.
The acting, script, intensity of relationships, the good and the bad (although Jack is written to be the most flawless human male I’ve ever encountered—despite his alcoholism), are all amazing. But, I think that what impresses me most about the show is that the writers recognized that what people experience in the here and now is the result of not only the circumstances in the moment, but also all of our backstories. The show takes us through what was behind the development of the psyche of each character and even what was behind the “demons,” vices, or neurosis of each character. It also shows those things that may have driven them to succeed, or to have unhealthy ideas of what success is.
I love this show because I have a backstory. You have a backstory. We all have backstories and no one’s is the same. Even the three kids who grew up with the same parents, in the same house, have different backstories. As I make my way in the world I am becoming more and more convinced that considering others’ backstories is a key to being a conduit of God’s grace. We never know what the person next to us has gone through. Even if we have an idea of circumstances they have faced, we don’t live in their skin, with their temperament. I think I have often assumed that everyone has had the same kind of day, week, month, LIFE that I’ve had. They haven’t. Grace. Grace. God’s grace. We all need it. Before I get angry or hurt in relationships Lord help me remember we all have backstories. This is us…people who need Grace.
Each day we go into the world with the opportunity to make an impact. Each person whose paths cross ours matters. Lives intersect for a reason. I believe there is One who directs our steps to these sometimes seemingly random meetings. My goal for these encounters is that I make a difference. That is my desire for those who venture across my blog. I hope you are blessed and it makes a difference for you.