Thursday, December 07, 2006

NBC's Heroes: What's the Appeal?

People who know me are surprised by my love for NBC's show "Heroes." This comic book show isn't supposed to appeal to an educated adult, is it?

To which I simply say: yes. You just have to listen to what the characters' say to see why.

The questions "Heroes" poses: what is my destiny? am I special? are ones that many people grapple with.

I won't be so presumptuous as to say that everyone around the planet asks these questions, but I certainly think people growing up in the US do.

When I was doing clinical training as a therapist in a college student counseling center, this was the question of many a confused and eager undergraduate.

For some people, this question goes away as they get older. They start worrying about how to pay the bills, get married, have children, and rarely have time to think about tomorrow, forget such an existentialistic question as what they are supposed to be doing with their lives.

Yet I find myself still grappling with it, which is why "Heroes" appeals to me so much. Recently, I met with a minister who asked me about my "faith journey." He's in the opening stages of trying to persuade me to join his church. Since I haven't even been baptized, he has a long way to go, but he cleverly caught my attention with a telling summation of where I'm at in my life.

He pointed out that, with my formal education completed, it was time to determine where my calling (or, as he put it, God's calling for me) and the greatest human need combined.

In other words, it's time for me to find my destiny. And the underlying question to that (although most of us would cut out our tongues before we asked it aloud): how am I special? What is my special ability that can serve others?

Now, in real life, we can't fly or heal ourselves or read minds or travel through time and space (dammit!) Nor will we be called on to save the world, or even a city, from massive destruction. It's that fantasy scale of "Heroes" that makes the show fun.

Yet make no mistake- we all ask ourselves the exact same questions that those characters ask.

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