This Is Us

Pittsburgh Steelers

Finally watched the final show in the sixth and final season of This Is Us last night; I rank this series up there with the series, LOST, in terms of cinematography, acting, and story line. Excellent stuff!

One of the prominent features of this series is its realistic portrayal of a family comprised of one adopted child and two of natural birth. Back stories of the parents, grandparents, and extended family combine to present a true-to-life, messy, complex, sometimes combative, other times jovial journey from birth to midlife for the three siblings.

Topics such as body image, racism, sibling rivalry, alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, and divorce, and death, as well as true love, forgiveness, straight talk, perseverance, and the hereafter, run throughout the series, making it into an emotional ride that rings true with life as I have lived it, seen it, and read about it lived. I highly recommend it!

As I examine my own little world today, I have: friends suffering with addictions, family members in the process of divorce, others coping with dementia, cancer ravaging a good friend’s family, incidents of neighborhood theft, troublesome health issues, as well as delightful times with my grandchildren, a daughter expecting a child, adequate security in retirement, and a loving wife who has put up with me for over 46 years.

Life is indeed a potpourri of events, feelings, educational experiences, mysteries, agonies, and moments of great exhilaration.

Sometimes we grow up thinking that the goal in life is the absence of conflict, the defeat of all things evil, the eradication of all disease, the financial security of the masses, and the establishment of justice and fairness, i.e. a “level playing field” for all persons on the planet.

Then . . . as time goes on (and sometimes it comes quickly) we see these very things have not been realized in our own family, among our friends, and every place we look in the world. Discouragement meets disillusionment; we are first confused, flummoxed . . . then, hardened, cynical. We long for the Utopia we believed existed somewhere, but disheartened that we cannot seem to attain it . . . even in our own lives.

One day . . . hopefully, we come to accept the failures in our human nature, and if we are persons of spiritual and metaphysical awareness we acknowledge that the Source of our troubles is not one we will one day defeat on this earth; we cannot eradicate it. Going further in our quest we also arrive at the belief that our love for one another is, in fact, the only glue that keeps us bound to one another. And interestingly, it alone is powerful enough to withstand the onslaught of discouragement and disillusionment.

“Love launches us to heights and perspectives that alone give us not only tolerance of the troubles in the world, but the ability to see beyond the failures and embrace the persons involved in them – unequivocally.”

Ivan Benson

Your family is like this, isn’t it? It is a microcosm of the whole world and everyone in it. The struggles and failures, followed by renewed aspirations and successes; the agony of sickness and death, followed by the exquisite and incomparable beauty and promise of a newborn child. All of it encompassed in a blanket of familial love where the all drastic contradictions are melded into an inseparable unit, unassailable to any outside force or entity.

Or . . . such is the dream. Right?

That dream has the ring of truth (in my experience).

That’s why I love This Is Us so much. Broken persons portrayed in a broken world, raised by broken parents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania find a way to overcome the onslaught we all face. That way is LOVE.

About ivanbenson

I am a former singer, guitar player, writer, story teller, voice over talent, and a current heart attack survivor in the Atlanta, Georgia area.
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