When we meet Peter Bishop he is estranged from his father. We are told that Walter was a brilliant researcher, a scientist, and a scholar. We are told or led to believe that he is troubled and dangerous. We know that his mental health condition led to a fire which killed his assistant and which set off a chain of events that included his wife’s suicide.
Peter is condescending and reckless. Sarcasm and skepticism are his defining traits. He is judgmental. He is unappreciative. He is resentful.
For most of his life he has believed one set of facts that ultimately defined his childhood: his father was not there for him. His father was a man consumed with work and consumed with science. His obsession with work led to his mental breakdown, his institutionalization, and his wife’s death. He was methodical, neurotic, and cold.
When Olivia offered Walter the proposition of a new life, he was overjoyed. She was offering him a relationship with his son. She was offering hope of reconciliation– an opportunity to repair and restore what was lost and what had been broken.
Peter was aghast. He was inconvenienced. He was irate. Walter had wasted too much time. His wastefulness had killed his mother. If he’d wanted a relationship with Peter, he could have had one. Too much time had passed; he was too little, too late.
When the show ends we are all changed. We learn that Walter’s real son died of an illness when he was just a young boy. Walter and his wife grieved and mourned. Walter discovered an alternate universe– a world where the other Walter Bishop was also on the verge of losing his Corresponding Peter.
Walter 1 soon learned that Walter 2 was interrupted during the most critical test. During this test, Walter 1 realized that Walter 2 had discovered the cure for Walter 2’s own son, but hadn’t realized it.
The problem? Walter 2 doesn’t know this, and because he doesn’t know, his son, Corresponding Peter, will also die.
Horrified and frightened, Walter 1 crafts a plan:
- He’ll go to the alternate universe.
- He’ll bring Corresponding Peter back to his world.
- He’ll cure him.
- He’ll return Corresponding Peter back to Walter 2, his real father.
Our Peter, our main character Peter, has spent his whole life feeling cast aside, unloved, and unwanted. But we discover that his Walter, although not his real father, has risked everything for Peter’s life. He has risked his own life, his own freedom, interdimensional kidnapping charges, and his marriage– all for the opportunity to love and raise Corresponding Peter, a second son, identical to his own, who had died. All for the opportunity to love his son, twice.
Whew! The struggle.
I haven’t been happy for a long time. I’ve had joys and real successes. New love. New opportunity. A chance to spend more time with and be closer to my family. Answered prayers long since prayed for and forgotten more than ten years prior. I am appreciative and grateful. I am humbled.
But I haven’t been happy. I haven’t been satisfied. It’s like cranes in the sky.
Today I had an Aha moment- a breakthrough.
The answer to every problem, both the ones I imagine and the ones that are real, is information. The greater its depth and breadth, the more equipped we are to find a solution. The more equipped we are to cut our losses, change our minds, or grieve. We are less anxious. We are self-assured. We have all that we need to be happy: information.
Peter’s resentment caused his recklessness. He was stagnant and inconsistent. He had good intentions, but he wasn’t trustworthy. What he needed when he needed it was information. The knowledge that his lived experiences, though very real, were without context. He was loved profoundly and completely by his father. He was twice loved.
It’s something I come back to over and over again. You have to decide. You have to decide that ___________ is bigger, is greater than whatever temporary, momentary discomfort you feel. You have to be willing to move, to leave, to dance, to participate, to commit, to make a decision, to make a mistake.
You have to be willing to engage in the conversation, to figure out why, to figure out how to stop it. You have to be wiling to contribute. You have to be willing.
You have to decide. Find joy.