“Hello, Sarah Jane…”
Here is the Guide for Parental Units of Geeks for this episode!
It’s so sweet. Just so so so sweet.
I didn’t watch a ton of Doctor Who when I was a kid. The PBS station at home showed it when I was really little, but not when I was old enough to understand it. So I have a few vague images floating around, along with a few vague recollections of characters’ names and some basics about how the world worked. I was just too little to really get it.
One thing I was certain of was the importance of Sarah Jane Smith.
What would Doctor Who be without her? He’d had cute companions before. And intelligent ones. And even a couple special ones. What the Doctor did not have yet was the companion. None of them were Sarah-Jane-y enough.
She has a quality that cannot be simplified into a list of characteristics.
By my count, Sarah Jane is the twenty-third companion. And she’s the one that just really got it right.
(Rose was the 34th. Or 31st if you count Romana I and II and K-9 1 and II as one companion each, and if you remove Grace [never-travelled-in-the-TARDIS] Holloway.)
So having her revisit the TV show was just a fan’s delight.
“I thought I was special!”
Maybe you’ve seen this floating around:
Who wants to live forever?
The Doctor drops people off when they get a little mortal-y. He left Sarah Jane while he was in his fourth life. He was called back to Gallifrey on some business. And that was that.
We learn here that he never retrieved her again because he just couldn’t bear to watch her grow old and die. After all, he’ll live for a very very long time. And, as a human, Sarah Jane, will not.
He’s acting like the Highlander, isn’t he? He doesn’t want to fall in love, or experience any other major life-changing relationship with a person he will massively outlive. Friendship and love are huge investments. If the relationship will only last for a fraction (maybe 1/15th or so) of our life, it’s a little hard to really dig in and commit to it.
I invest a massive amount time in my wife. I spend most evenings, and most weekends with her. The time expended on her does not end when she is absent. I think about her and about ways to help her or please her or make he r happy. The point is, I am a great husband.
Wait. No. The point is that we invest in relationships we expect will last. You’re more likely to share your deep stuff with a spouse, sibling, or close friend than you are with the guy that sat next to you on the bus this morning. You may share stuff with that guy on the bus, but it’s not for relationship-building. If you share your deep feelings about life with him, that is entirely for your benefit. You want to practice expressing something, so you say it at someone who will not judge you. Now, he won’t skip judging you because he loves you. He won’t judge you because he doesn’t care about you.
So there are some people with whom you may share a lot of yourself in terms of data. You’ll tell a stranger some deep things exactly because there will be no repercussions. Typically though, you’ll be sharing the data and the time with someone you expect to have in your life for a long time.
Besides many other obvious reasons, this is one other reason we don’t tend to marry very far outside of our age range. We’ll invest our deepest stuff and expect to be invested in a similar way, only to have the union snapped when one of us has a lot more years left.
That’s why it is so stinking sad – devastating – when a young married person dies. The widowed is left with all this investment. The investment of time already spent, the investment of time planned ahead, the emotional investment, the scheduled emotional investment of the next several decades.
Now imagine that there is a person who looks just like us and is able to marry or have deep friendships just like us. The big difference is that he will live to be thousands of years old.
Who can he be with?
It is wrong for him to invest in Sarah Jane or Rose. And it is wrong for him to expect an investment from them.
Offering the chance to see the universe and have a few adventures is really the most he should be offering. Otherwise, he’s toying with hearts (even the hearts of friends), encouraging a relationship to a certain depth that the two parties could never really satisfy in each other.
The Doctor’s abandonment of Sarah Jane may have been jerky because it came without warning. But it was the right thing to do.
This is how Christ is different: He lives forever and when you become His friend, you live forever too.
See how many problems that solves!
Jesus doesn’t have to say goodbye. Jesus doesn’t have to grow old apart from His friends. Jesus invites people to go on amazing adventures with Him and He can keep them around.