Season 3: Episode 1
That is the theme of this season's premiere of Desperate Housewives. I for one am glad for a fresh start this fall. Having begun the complete overhaul/remodel of a much persecuted house we bought cheap at the end of last season, my life has been thrown into chaos since March. But, in less than one week, I get the privilege of moving all my things from the last nine years (heck, from the last 32 years) into a brand new, clean, beautiful home. It makes me want to throw out the old and buy some new things.
Each of the housewives gets a fresh start this season. At least a semblance of freshness. Gabby gets a nice divorce and soon, a new baby. Susan gets a chance to finally show her true love for Mike as he lies helpless in a coma. Bree gets a new beau, one that finally seems to suit her personality (despite the fact that he killed his first wife). Lynette gets a new family member - well, maybe two. And Edie gets a chance to profit off the first sucker who will buy into Wysteria Lane, if she can hook one.
So, why doesn't any of that sound particularly fresh, clean and new? Like Mary Alice says at the close of the episode, some stains remain. A good rain doesn't always wash them away. Likewise, a new situation doesn't guarantee happiness. Gabby clearly expresses her disappointment to Carlos, saying her dream has been ruined. Susan tells an unresponsive Mike how heavy the loneliness is becoming. Bree discovers once again that her ideal life will be unattainable. Lynette knows that though a small battle has been won agains Nora, the war continues to wage. I will soon discover that moving nine years worth of stuff into a fresh new house doesn't result in a model home. A good friend once told me, "New levels, new devils." So, how does one ever move out of a place of desperation?
A month ago, I was prompted to think realistically about what exactly I loved and cherished about my faith. It wasn't a fancy ladies' retreat or inspirational conference that challenged me to get in touch with my "good feelings about God", but the question was borne out of an overwhelming conflict. The questions sounded more like, "Why am I a Christian again? Why did I choose Christianity as my faith and not something a little less difficult?" As I thought about it, I knew it wasn't for the persecution or the moral requirement to act kindly when others offend me. It wasn't for the tradition, the social benefits of belonging to a church family, or the security of having a belief system that makes sense to me intellectually. In the end, I could only boil it down to the beauty of freedom.
Freedom from guilt. Freedom from my past. Freedom to talk to God when my faith is weak and struggling. Freedom to just be human and have seasons of desperation without truly believing I'm totally defeated. Despite building a new life of good works and happy memories after trusting God, the foundation of forgiveness turned out to be the thing I cherish most. It's the beautiful rain of Christ that washes me clean. Refreshing. Cleansing. Starting over... It's the knowledge that no matter how miserably I fail today, the rain of forgiveness hangs heavy in the clouds, waiting to pour over me and give me a new start. I wouldn't trade that for anything else about my faith.
Of course, I'll always have some baggage. We all will. We'll throw some out and we'll move some into our new homes, whatever that may mean for us. But the key that our poor ladies on Wysteria Lane will never discover is Christ. Their lives are fictitious and destined to a never-ending sequence of trials and tribulations. That's what makes the series interesting. But, that's no good for real life. I prefer walking with Christ - living a life littered by desperate moments, but not buried in total desperation.
Psalm 65:3 - "When we were overwhelmed by sins, you atoned for our transgressions"
1 John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Ephesians 5:25-26 - "...Christ loved the church [you and me] and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."