Thursday, January 16, 2014

Taking a chance

Somewhere, deep in a closet in my house, is a stack of VHS tapes. Haven't pulled any of them out in years. And on one of those tapes is a pair of episodes from the 1980's sitcom Family Ties. Just two episodes, parts 1 and 2. Why did I keep them?

I loved the show anyway. It was funny, clean, and captured the 80s so well. But these episodes...

Despite the unbelievably corny promos (sorry for subjecting you to them), there was something about them that was real and struck a nerve with me at the time. It wasn't just a funny story, with funny characters. It resonated with me, almost like a musical instrument in tune with my soul.

Two themes, really.

  • One, Alex (Michael J. Fox) was portrayed in the series as a superficial character who was all about money. But when he thought he could find love scientifically, this girl Ellen saw a lot more than that. A lot more than we, the viewers, ever really saw. Love can do that. It can bring out who we really are - the best in us.
  • Two, when Alex realized his feelings for this girl, he chickened out of telling her. Several times. He was not willing to risk rejection. I think this was the part that really grabbed me, because I have been in Alex's shoes. And I am so not a risk taker. When given a choice, I usually opt for safety and security.
But he finally did take the risk, driving 350 miles to head her off at the train station and tell her how he felt. (Sorry, but 29 years after the episode aired, I think the spoiler statute of limitations is up). One of my favorite TV moments.

[Side note: Ellen was played by Tracy Pollan, whom Fox met as a result of this show and eventually married. They will soon celebrate their 26th anniversary.]

Why am I writing this tonight? Well, I was surfing around Netflix titles and came across Family Ties. And so then, of course, I had to find these episodes. And I did. And I enjoyed watching as much as the first time.

Somewhere in my closet is a videotape. If I find it, I may want to keep it.

Are you a risk taker? Do you think you need to be? What might God be called you to step out and do, but you're afraid?

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