Saturday, June 22, 2013

Writings from 2011: He Knows

I have a particular enjoyment in fantasy and science fiction stories for they allow the explorations of 'what if?'s. This is most easily accomplished through scifi television shows, I have noticed. An older show, from the 90's, that I've been reviewing recently is called Sliders. For the first few seasons that I've seen, the main premise of the show is that the main characters got stuck sliding from one 'what-if' reality to another because they didn't know how to return home after their first experiment went awry.

The show explores such ideas as 'what if the Soviets had won the Cold War?' and 'what if America had not won its independence?' and 'what if penicillin had never been discovered?' And since the characters would arrive in the same general area in each alternate reality, they just might come in contact with their doubles.

The one I wish to write about supposed that time might progress more slowly at a different speed of rotation. This being the case, it was similar in effect to having gone back in time some 12 or so years. The band of four travelers arrived at the end of the Quin's (the main character) father's funeral.

In many episodes, the sliders had debated about whether interacting or interfering, especially with their doubles, was ethical. Yet, here, Quin would listen to no arguments from the others. He knew of the bullying his younger version would face the coming week and he intended to do something about it.

Acting the part of a friend of his father's, Quin made friends with the younger doubles of his mother and himself. When he helped break up the first of three fights he'd remembered being caught in, Quin also made friends with the grade-school teacher. He spent much energy working to convince mother and teacher that the bullying would only get worse if young Quin never stood up for himself. They didn't know it, but Quin, of course, was speaking from experience.

After the teacher broke up the second fight, they agreed to let the boy be taught basic boxing skills. Quin's companions were annoyed when he insisted on observing the third altercation and quite upset when they saw the boy with a bat. "How can you teach him that violence is the answer?" "You're just getting revenge on the bullying you went through!" "It's not fair to him to have to live with the consequences of your interference!"

Quin ignored then, bade them be quiet, and watched. The band of bullies started taunting the boy and as the first moved in to attack, the boy began to swing. But he checked himself. He knocked two of them flat, chased the others off, then continued to walk home. Quin was pleased; his companions stunned.

They learned the he had followed through with the swing because he'd had no other means of self-defense. The boy's knee had been busted so badly that he limped for the rest of his life. It was a huge burden of guilt for Quin that colored his self-perception and social interactions for years. It was a burden he could try to help a young boy avoid. A couple of bloody noses and self-confidence in place of a permanent injury and self-hatred.

As I watched this unfold, it put me in mind of the Atonement of Christ. He suffered all things for all men that He would know how to help them. Like Quin with his younger self, Christ has been there and knows the whole picture. If we are willing to accept it, His help and guidance can keep us from things we would regret terribly later. That help can come from the words of His scriptures, concerned friends and family and leaders, and individual guidance by His Holy Spirit. And it can come because He knows.

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