What screams November and almost the holidays?
Pumpkin Pie loaded with whipped cream mountains.
Reruns of Gilmore Girls with heartwarming characters, loveable in their flaws.
Brooke Fraser’s Brutal Romantic soundscape, the Hunger Games soundtracks.
And for years, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, with my favorite characters, actresses, and singers.
However this year, I no longer crawled out of bed to wrap myself in clouds of blankets to watch the glamour play out on the screen. Instead, I stayed up late that night watching Switchfoot celebrate being thankful with songs of truth via a livestreamed concert party. My messed up heart was oh so grateful. For each word and the core reminders of what it means to be human, to be grateful, to live it well. To see that:
This body’s not my own, this world is not my own.
Then, the next morning, with cautious excitement, accompanied by Christmas lights and left over pumpkin pie, I began the Gilmore Girls Revival. Wow, did the stories wreck me. What a journey they took me on. And with this new kind of Thanksgiving tradition came so many thoughts – spoiler free (because it’s too good to do that to you) – that follow.
It’s no surprise that I have always lived within the characters of a story. Getting lost in the pages, the created worlds, continually and vicariously adjusting it until the pieces fall into place better. My mind is a safe place to explore these places I become fascinated with. Mesmerized, and so I turn to television, books and the storytelling that comes from this platform as an escape. To leave behind the mess of life.
Yet the good stories, the best ones, actually drive you to further explore and focus on the human experience.
The stories they tell that make you cry. Broken and damaged and bent out of shape just like the rest of us, yet slowly learning to push past what seems inevitable and learn to love each other. To choose to see the good when all other highlights appear grim.
And maybe that’s why Gilmore Girls resonates so well. Because at the core, it’s about the relationships. The careers, the victories, the epic failures, the birthdays, the cinematic scenes, it all fades, has more lows than we can stand in hope. But the heartbeat of it is the bond and connection between the characters, especially Rory and Lorelai.
I am Rory right now. At least, I relate most to her. In that midlife/young adult crisis. That one where all the steps seem to be lining up, but the day to day, the huge trajectory of how it all works seems cluttered and vague. Identity becomes a masked concept, one we wrestle to dig out. All we have known about ourselves since the sparkling shoes, shy performance four year old days is now contradictory in huge ways. Contradictory to the world as it comes to us and the ways we are having friction with it, and those hopeful dreams coming alive creatively. The literary version of living seems so much more tantalizing than this shortened daydream of life.
I honestly didn’t expect to be so blindsided, bewildered, and wrecked by the ways it shattered my windows and showed the soul.
It’s all so relatable, so human, so tangible, that these eyes won’t peel away from the screen. Instead, I savor each season, each little side comment, revisiting it again and again, trying to capture the most detail possible.
And maybe all the plot twists timed perfectly with nods to the favorite parts is screaming out something. That now I’ve been grateful, reflected on that, taken space to view the brokenness. And now the following day has arrived and with it an invitation to dive back into life more fully.
While the characters with their lovable and hateable quirks and flaws, with their inability to see the whole picture coupled with an ability to charm the world, may not be real, they are like old friends. Reflecting pieces of the people around us, of our very human hopes and goals, the ways expectation clashes with reality. And I needed that reminder woven throughout the stories told, that in every season of life, in every circle of connection, it comes down to the people around us, not the lives we are building, that make everything richer.
So thank you, Gilmore Girls, for showing this tired college girl with a million goals and plans that are swirling around unfinished that life is about more than that. And while so many things are changing, what is most important remains the best part of life. Here’s to the holidays, more revisiting of Gilmore Girls, coffee, connection, and letting the stories impact you.