House: A Beautiful Picture of Healing Community

The season premiere of House was a beautiful thing: a portrait of how the process to wholeness includes the most obscure relationships of our lives.

A few snapshots:

1. While we think we are normal, it is really only once we have ventured into community that we begin to see how each of our “normals” are in need of restoration. From the beginning of this episode you find yourself believing that House is right; namely, that he is ok. After all, he is an MD and so much more “normal” than the other people around him. More normal than his manic roommate, more normal that the girl who has tried to commit suicide, more normal than even the doctor who abuses one of the patients in public.

Or is he? The longer you watch the more you begin to sense that maybe, House is just like all the others. His manipulation of the system, his thinking he can do things better, his persistent attempts to hijack relationships. Is this so normal? Is this even sane? Or, as the show begs us to ask, is this what we think is normal (for House and ourselves) but really is a less than whole version of the real House (or us) we have yet to meet?

2. “You are not trying to move on, you are trying to fix things,” say the Dr. There is something common to the experience of hurt and forgiveness in the world that this episode sheds a light on with regards to not only House, but also ourselves. Some do forgiveness better than others as House seems to suggest, but all have felt the sting of hurt or the sense of failure that comes when you let someone down.

This is where the show really takes off: House is confronted with the fact that while he is the sum of the things which have happened to him in his life, some of those events are more important than others. Or, as his doctor quickly points out: some events have been given a greater voice in the shaping of his life narratives than others (for better and worse).

At the end of the day, this movement from fixing what has happened to owning what has happened is the longest journey any of us will take. Whether it is moving from fixing our own lives or trying to fix others, sometimes simply owning the story is the best place and only place to start.

3. All the relationships of our lives are part of the process of our further conversion to wholeness (but we have to be a willing participant in this process).  House was afraid of being hurt. His arrogance, his defensiveness, his projection were all a part of his desire to keep those at bay that might just seek to hurt him. Or so he thought!

By the end of the episode, it was as if House had awaken to the knowledge that he was not the center of the world and everyone in his world was not actually out to hurt him. In short, House came to realize that he could trust others even in their failure of him. Or, what is more, that he could still trust himself when he too failed others.

At the end of the day (as you may can tell), my sense is that this episode was a decade’s worth of courses on counseling, family dynamics, theology, health and care. It also went a long way in challenging the notion that anyone is really “normal.”

It will be interesting to see if there is a bump in the number of those who seek out counseling to deal with life’s destructive narratives after this episode. Though it maybe hard to quantify, one thing has to be for certain: a lot of people will have left the show feeling the same way as the manic character at the end of the show when he brilliantly stated, “I’m here for my medicine, I want to get well.”

Be well. Seek wholeness. Leave judgment behind. Care for one another!

Joshua

3 thoughts on “House: A Beautiful Picture of Healing Community

  1. Thanks for your thoughts! I loved the episode, although I do take issue with the Hollywood notions of “happiness” as the ultimate goal and anything–even affairs with a married person—is acceptable in pursuit of this.

    My roommate did not like the unveiling of House’s “tender side,” but I like believing that even the gruffest curmudgeons have a heart 🙂

    So that’s my two cents.

    (and I did, for the record, cheer in the last scene :-))

  2. i think you can even see a bit of this in calvin’s institutes of the christian religion.

    when we look all too much at ourselves and never pull out of that perspective, we miss the signs that we aren’t really the big dog we think we are, which is humbling [hopefully for the better].

  3. Diane: You really think that the Doctor was saying that ‘happiness’ was the end all? I thought it was just another rhetorical device to House outside of himself.

    Though, if that was what they meant, I agree it was the weaker part of the show!

    James: Interesting connection. But did Calvin really think that we weren’t all that?

    Or did he not somewhat hold that once we came to know God, and love God, we would really become “the big dog” because then we would really be able to love (and be) ourselves?

    Cheers-JC

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