A Lesson from Star Trek

A few months ago, we ventured out of the land of Hulu and back into DirecTV. With our newly found plethora of channels, the family sat on the couch and rifled through the endless list of shows. I happened upon an old Star Trek: The Next Generation, one of my favorites from back then, and was quickly drawn into the story. When a commercial hit, reality set in and I quickly changed the channel thinking my kids must be about to lynch me for subjecting them to such torture. But to my surprise, they hollered, “What are you doing? Put it back!” Hence dawned our new family “tradition” of watching the series from beginning to end, compliments of Amazon Prime.

As you may or may not know, most of the show’s storylines are founded around a current cultural topic which is extrapolated into an extreme or futuristic version of that situation. Entire species of “humanoids” are fabricated from inflated versions of cultural no-no’s, making for some interesting and conflicted plots. In the episode we watched last night, a woman’s fundamental genetic make-up and sole purpose in life was to morph her entire person into the perfect companion for her mate. She was a biologically natural but rare form of their species who had a specific purpose in life, to prepare for an arranged marriage with the leader of a rival faction to begin the restoration process. Until she was married to this person, her life was a constant morphing of personality traits and characteristics that aligned to whomever happened to be in the room with her at that time. She effectively had no definition of self. Once married, she would bond with her spouse and be permanently created as the person who is her mate’s perfect companion.

As the show progressed, this woman found herself, for the first time, finding a version of her self which she realized made her a better person. This happened when she was in contact with one particular person, in this case the captain of the ship, Jean Luc Picard.

She had a found person that made her a better person.

The night before she was to be married to the rival faction leader, she chose to bond with Captain Picard. Meaning, she chose to create a permanent version of herself which was better than any she had known previously, and in doing so, accepted the sacrifice of having to work to be the perfect mate to her soon-to-be-spouse.

The story was quite dramatic in watching the evolution of her awakening and the dawning of realization that two people can work together to build each other up into something better.

As the showed replayed itself in my mind, I started to experience a sense of loss, a longing for a partner in which the other person made me a better person.

Then the reality hit me. I do have this. His name is Jesus.

There is a song by Britt Nicole, All This Time, whose lyrics come to mind now:

I hear these people asking me
How do I know what I believe?
Well I’m not the same me
And that’s all the proof I need

I started thinking of all the ways in which Jesus has made me a better person since I started following Him. When the first couple came to mind, I pulled out a sheet of paper from the scrap drawer and actually thought to myself, “Oh, I’m going to waste this whole sheet of paper on two thoughts.” But I wrote them down anyway. Fifteen minutes later, I had filled the entire page with all the ways He has changed me. Here’s my list:

More compassionate, less controlling, less judgmental, more value in myself, more humble, better at shutting my mouth, more patient, more aware, less destructive, more perceiving, less easily influenced by negative things, more conviction, less greedy, less materialistic, less close-minded, less shameful, less living by guilt, more tolerant, more friendly to strangers, more co-operative, less rigid where unnecessary and more firm where needed, less complaining, more protective where needed, less fearful about: money, jobs/unemployment, rejecting cultural norms, my “reputation”, speaking the truth, speaking about Jesus, artificial dependencies (my home, money in the bank, etc); more ability to dream in what’s possible, more creative, less of a chameleon, better understanding of community, more likely to donate money / more open-handed, less likely to follow old behavior patterns, more loving and appreciative and understanding toward my mom, a better parent, a better co-worker, a better wife, a better sister, better at smiling at people, more health conscious, better listener, more competent in my job.

And lastly, after all that, I realized the one that surprised me the most. I realized that during the show, I did not relate to or align with this woman’s chameleon nature, when in fact, this is exactly what I used to be – a shape-shifter morphing the definition of myself to others’ needs for the purpose of receiving love. A painful and terrifying way to go through life. He relieved me of that burden and gave me a new heart about myself.

If you are looking for someone to walk with you, to build you up into a better person, to remain beside you during your slips and failures, and to stay by your side for the lifetime of getting better while never expecting perfection, then Jesus is your answer. Give yourself to Him today so He can help you become a better you.

4 thoughts on “A Lesson from Star Trek

  1. I remember watching an episode of Downton Abbey where the grandmother was saying: “Of course she’s allowed to have an opinion – just as soon as her husbands tells her what they are!”
    Just as women of old were expected to believe in her husband’s gods (and no longer her father’s) when she gets married off. The chameleon woman is just like that – she has no self of her own and she changes to suit the men in her life. What kind of message is that for a daughter?
    When she bonded with Picard, she learned “duty” – at the very least she picked up Picard’s hobbies to keep her occupied while she lived with a man who wasn’t her perfect fit because she was duty-bound to do so.

    1. Hi Jamie – thanks for sharing your thoughts. In this blog post, I used the story as a catalyst to open a discussion about Jesus. If we were to instead discuss the role of media in the evolution of women’s rights, then that of course is an entirely different and entirely compelling conversation. In this particular case, you might find this episode to your liking because it was both men and women who were born this way, and she chose to bond to Picard because he was the first person who challenged her that she didn’t have to live that way – in fact, he was supporting the position you are presenting and she chose to hold onto that instead reverting back. I thought that was a very good message for my daughters. Thank you for allowing me to elaborate on my initial thoughts. Cheers.

      1. That’s the thing about Star Trek, you don’t have to take just any one thing out of an episode and each person can see things differently. As I understand what the concept of empathic mesomorphs are – they can’t help but constantly change until they are bonded to one person. It’s not as if she really had a choice about bonding to Picard – she had roughly 48-72 hours and he happened to be the guy she was around most. In essence, her biology made the decision for her, not her of her own free will.

      2. I also found it interesting that two people could see the same thing and come away with a different response to it. It certainly validates that our interpretations of situations are born from our past experiences. Thank you for the dialog.

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