If you’ve never watched a show called Joan of Arcadia, it is worth Netflixing. (Is that a verb yet?) A teenage girl, Joan, played so honestly by Amber Tamblyn that sometimes it’s embarrassing, begins receiving visits from God in various manifestations. There is Dogwalker God, Library Lady God, Goth Teenager God, Little Girl God, Cute Teenager God and many others. God seems to be there to give Joan tasks and to teach her, but what Joan tries to accomplish and what she ends up learning always seem a little bit different than what God really intends. Her parents, two brothers and friends at school are involved in the plot and God’s plan, and the writers weave their lives together brilliantly. Oh, and there’s great music.
This particular dialogue from the first season struck me the third time around, particularly the idea of romance as a meditative state. What do you all think (all two and a half of you who occasionaly read this blog)?
- Little Girl God: And they all lived happily ever after? (Joan turns) There’s a surprise. (Joan scoffs) You guys really like that ending.
Joan: Yeah, well, you have a better one?
Little Girl God: They all moved towards spiritual growth and enlightenment?
Joan: Yeah. That’s gonna work with the kids.
Little Girl God: Ever notice that the guy always has to risk his life and the girl is nearly dead when he finds her? It takes a kiss to wake her up and they ride off together. It’s a nice metaphor.
Joan: For what?
Little Girl God: Death and resurrection.
Joan: Yeah. Well, that’s a fun party game.
Little Girl God: It happens all the time. The illusion dies so that something deeper can take its place.
Joan: (sits down) Are you saying that… Adam and I are an illusion?
Little Girl God: Romance serves a purpose. It’s a meditative state. It puts logic to sleep so that people can come together. Otherwise you guys probably wouldn’t risk it.
Joan: Why did you have to make love so complicated? I mean… couldn’t that one thing been easy?
Little Girl God: Love is big. It’s a bright light in the universe and a bright light casts a big shadow. So, what do you wanna do, Joan?
Joan: (sighs) How am I supposed to know?
Little Girl God: By looking at it. Real love is hard work; you have to decide if you want it in your story. Or if you’d rather just stay in the dream.
“Real love is hard work.”
Not just romantic love but family love, friendship love, neighbor love. But in the end it is the only work worth doing. It is harder in the end to not love.It seems like hard work sometimes, but Jesus says, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” John says the command to love “….Is not burdensome….”
So why does it seem so hard sometimes? Bruce Cockburn says “When you’re lovers in a dangerous time….You got to kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight.”
“And just Dealing with a bunch of questions takes a lot of guts when there is no guarantee that there will be answers”
Also from Joan.
That was a smart, deep and intelligent series. specially the first season.