The Five Second Rule

I was never a huge fan of LOST. I tried– my siblings and most of my friends were big fans– but I just never seemed to care about what was going to happen next the way that they did. Despite my apathetic feelings toward the show, this morning I found myself drawing on the wisdom of a particular scene. You see, these characters have just survived a plane crash and find themselves stranded on an unknown island. They have no idea where they are (hence the show’s name) and everyone is terrified… except for Jack…

The truth is, Jack was afraid. In the first scene of the entire series, Jack is hyperventilating in the middle of a bamboo forest. He has just regained his consciousness after the crash, only he has no idea what is going on. He used his five second rule in this situation as well (although this does not become obvious to the viewer until this scene with Kate).

“…I knew I had to deal with it. So I just made a choice; I’d let the fear in, let it take over, let it do it’s thing, but only for five seconds….”

Jack embraced his initial reaction, and then took charge of himself and chose to deal with the situation at hand.

The effects of original sin darkened our intellect and weakened our wills. Because of this, we have a more difficult time trusting God and ruling over our bodies. I feel like this scene is a total “swap moment”– Jack acknowledges his human weakness, but then lets it go and chooses to deal with the hand he has been dealt.

This morning I was supposed to fly to New York to visit family and attend the wedding of a friend. Chris and I woke up to find that Beesly (our newest furry addition to the family) had pooped in her crate… this was after puking in it yesterday afternoon… and relieving her bowels on our carpet yesterday evening. We are about 90% certain this is a reaction to something she ate that she shouldn’t have, so we really aren’t that worried about her health (especially since she’s acting normal in every other aspect of her doggy life). However, she is clearly needing to make more trips outside than usual and our scheduled dog sitters are grad students… there’s no way they could take her outside every two hours (and there’s not way we’d want them to have to clean up the messes she’s been making in her crate).

So this morning, at 3:30am, Chris and I were trying to decide what to do. It was clear that at least one of us needed to stay home. I volunteered since the wedding we were traveling for is the wedding of one of his childhood best friends. Chris did not like this idea at all… but since we didn’t have a lot of time to make a decision (had to be out the door by 4am to make the flight), it was what we decided to go with.

As the decision began to sink in, we both got really frustrated and emotional (granted, it was 3am…). This is when the “5 second” wisdom from LOST popped into my head.

“Ok…” I told myself, “you are allowed to be upset about this. But you are not allowed to stay upset about this. Take the time you need… but rise above this and find the grace.”

I’m happy to say, this self-talk worked: a swap took place. I acknowledged the natural human response, and did not downplay it at all (because let’s be honest, who wants to stay home and clean up a poopy dog instead of visiting family and friends you haven’t seen for months). I gave myself longer than five seconds… but I still chose grace. I chose to deal with my unexpected cross.

Somehow, embracing this cross has actually made it lighter. I guess that’s the power of grace.



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