|Posted on August 22, 2012 at 6:50 AM|
For August the CW blog chain chose “Memory” as our topic. Other great blogs have been written on this topic, including the one I reference below. The past two weeks of articles are linked under Update at the end, but for now, here’s mine.
Most of the time, I don’t like rehash episodes; at least that’s what I call them. This is the episode where the studio saves money by showing the main characters talking about the past, and every time one remembers something, they conjure up the appropriate film.
Only two rehash episodes have actually appealed to me. One on Matlock had an agitated man storm into Ben Matlock’s office, looking for him. Each of the supporting cast enters the office, and he threatens them should he not get who he wants. Believing he means their boss harm, each shares a memory of Ben’s humanitarianism, drawn from previous episodes. This one became an exception due to the tension the man brought to the frame. What does he really want? Will he kill all the staff? What’s his issue with Matlock?
The other is Next Generation’s “Shades of Gray.” At first I wasn’t very impressed; it looked just like another of those rehash stories. But as I watched it again recently, I saw a lot more.
Will Riker and Geordi LaForge are exploring an unknown planet, when an alien thorn strikes Riker’s leg. Immediately Geordi reports to the Enterprise-D, Dr. Pulaski briefly beams down to ensure it’s safe to bring Riker on board, and he materializes in sickbay. Except for a little numbness around the puncture site, Riker feels fine.
This doesn’t last long, however. The numbness spreads very quickly, and Pulaski estimates Riker will die within an hour. But she has not a clue how the infection spreads, much less how to get rid of it.
The coolest part about this episode is the octagonal scanner they use, which surrounds his head with sensors to probe his brain. With it, Pulaski puts Riker to sleep to slow down the infection’s progress, and here’s where excerpts of previous episodes come in. His dreams recall his prior experiences as Number One, and the first set is rather benign.
He recalls meeting Wesley for the first time in “Encounter at Farpoint,” when Wes had tried to step on rocks to cross a stream. One rock tilted, and he fell in. The Edo women he had met in “Justice,” being with the matriarch Beata in “Angel One,” and his mini-romance with Minuet on the holodeck in “11001001.”
But the pleasurable memories only serve to advance the disease; apparently it feeds on the endorphins that come with amiable thoughts. So Pulaski adjusts the machine to force Riker to dream about less wonderful moments. Tasha Yar’s death to the tar monster in “Skin of Evil,” and his grief when Deanna lost her son in “The Child.” Consequently, the infection starts to retreat.
So again Pulaski turns up the volume, so to speak. More intense negative impressions from his past flash through his mind. The disease backs away even more. Another adjustment, and scenes speed by like watching the landscape from a speeding train. Riker becomes agitated, moaning, until finally the thorn’s influence disappears.
The end of this episode is hilarious. When Riker awakes and the frame is rolled away, Picard and Data look down at him. Pulaski warns Riker against possible memory loss. “I just want to be certain that you still know who you are."
"Of course I know who I am,” says Riker in his usual dry sense of humor. “I'm Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise."
To which the captain answers: "I'm delighted that you're feeling better … Captain. The admiral and I were worried about you."
Data doesn’t quite get it. "Captain, I do not believe you have the authority to promote me to the rank of admiral."
We all have memories. Some are pleasant, others painful, and still others deliver a guiltload of regret. As humans, most of us would rather focus on pleasant recollections, but there’s a purpose to all of it. In fact, we have the tendency to mentally revise our less fond memories and make them seem lighter. This is evident when somebody starts talking about how simpler life was in “the good old days.”
Memory is very important to God, too. “The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot” (Proverbs 10:7). The truth of the last half is illustrated in such Old Testament verses as Exodus 17:14: “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” The only way we know anything about the brutal Amalekites is because Moses wrote about them.
Jesus also spoke of memory when He conducted the very first Communion service in history: “When He gave thanks, He broke [the bread] and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me’” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25).
These days, we usually say “in remembrance” to refer to somebody significant who has died, but as I see it, the meaning here is broader. Not only are we to remember His death, we must remember His resurrection, and the life He imparts to us because we chose to believe.
In his blog-chain post this month, Chris Vonada wrote about “The Connection between Our Memories and Everlasting.” He has a lot of great thoughts, including this: “I try to think of our past and the memories as a continuous or fused process with the future and everlasting. Everything fits together seamlessly in His perfect way.”
For those who are always down on themselves, however, these words may seem foreign. They’re thinking only of what they’ve done wrong, or believe they’ve done wrong. In most cases, what they’ve done right is far more prevalent! But Satan uses our depressed state to tell us we’re so worthless, even God would not want us.
If we try to mask our depression and put on a cheerful face, Satan is like the thorn infection that struck Will Riker in “Shades of Gray.” He tried to remain upbeat, until he became too weak to stand. As long as he dreamed about pleasant things, the infection fed on it and spread, threatening to consume him and soon would have killed him.
But as soon as Dr. Pulaski adjusted the probe to make him dream about less pleasant things, then about disastrous things, the disease retreated. I see the scanner frame as representing Jesus Christ, for the harsh circumstances we go through serve only to strengthen our faith. That’s because He goes with us through the tough times and blesses us (drives back the disease) so we can live happy, blessed lives.
As I write, a sniggly insurance detail is keeping me stranded at the care center where I had rehabilitated from my latest bout with congestive heart failure. I can’t go anywhere or do anything until it’s cleared up; I’m posting on the Internet using the facility’s Wifi. The truth I just wrote I need to remember as well, so I’m not trying to sound superior.
I had a friend who introduced me to the concept of the healing of memories, where a person can mentally and prayerfully place himself back into the painful events in his past, with Jesus at his side. It may sound like a New Age thing on the surface, but because they deny Jesus, and this method includes Him, it’s not. With every memory, every negative event, every pain, we turn it over to Jesus and He comforts us. He blesses it with His peace and dissolves the pain. It is through our stormy times that His greatest blessings abound, which is another way memory and everlasting can be connected.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:7-8). “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5 NKJV).
Satan can’t gain a foothold when we bless God for our hard times instead of wallowing in them—and yes, I’m preaching to myself as much as to anyone else. But God commanded it, I believe it, and I must run with it. So do we all.
AUGUST THEME: “MEMORY”
August 25: Tracy Krauss at Expression Express
August 26: Marilyn McKay at Life 101: Understanding It All
August 26: Stephanie Boles at 80 Acres and a Book
August 27: Nona King at Word Obsession
August 28: Chris Stachura at Recovery along Route 66
August 29: Carol Peterson at Carol’s Magic Quill
Categories: Next Generation