A recent episode of Law & Order (the show, incidentally, got renewed for its 21st season, making it the longest running primetime drama in the history of America TV) has our intrepid detectives on the hunt for the murderer of four police officers. The captain of the slain officers follows the investigation closely, regularly criticizing how the detectives and attorneys are handling the case. At one point, he makes a dig at Lt. Anita Van Buren. Now, you have to know that at the beginning of this season, Lt. Van Buren was diagnosed with cancer and, as the season has gone on, we’ve overheard conversations with her doctor, watched her receive chemotherapy, and vicariously felt her boyfriend’s assuring embraces. It’s been a tough, uncertain road for our by-the-book, no-nonsense police lieutenant. Well, the captain of the four slain officers knows about this and, at the height of his displeasure of how the case is proceeding, he alleges that Lt. Van Buren’s current illness is affecting her judgement.
Lt. Van Buren has this great reply: “I certainly hope so.”
The show’s writers were probably hoping we viewers were expecting Lt. Van Buren to defend her decisions, to say that she’s running things exactly as before, that her judgement has not been affected by her diagnosis and treatment of cancer. However, she not only admits that her cancer is adjusting how she sees things, she is glad about it.
As our lives go on, we are constantly experiencing new things – both good and bad, both mundane and profound. These new things affect how we think and how we act. To think that we’re the same person we were 7 years ago or 3 years ago or 6 months ago or even just last week is not all that realistic. Events and experiences have changed some opinions, ideas, and likely even our judgement. We can either deny that we’ve changed, or we can embrace those changes as Lt. Van Buren has.
If you look back over the past weeks, months, and years, and you don’t care for the changes you see in yourself, then it’s a little harder to embrace them, isn’t it? In that case, you may wish to spend some time looking to and praying about the future, considering what sorts of changes you’d like to see with the good Lord’s help beginning with the coming minutes, hours, and days.
As I continue learning and growing and maturing, I hope someone who sees me for the first time in a while will say, “I think you’ve changed a bit since we’ve last been together.” At that point, I want to quote Lt. Van Buren: “I certainly hope so!”
NBC publicity photo of S. Epatha Merkerson as Lt. Anita Van Buren.