The Lonely Doctor

Jordan and I have been caught up (rather late in the game, admittedly) in the fantastical world of Doctor Who. We’ve gone through over four seasons in the past several months (it was a light semester), and while I’ve enjoyed the show the whole way, I was unprepared for how emotionally swept up I would get in the multi-part season 4 finale episodes. David Tennant proved his merit as an actor during his stint as The Doctor, and he will always be my Doctor (who’s yours?). I didn’t watch much of season 1 with Christopher Eccleston, so my introduction to the world of the show was via David Tennant. We’ve started into season 5 with Matt Smith, but it just doesn’t feel right to me. Who uses a green sonic screwdriver? But that’s another post/rant altogether.

I think my emotional connection to Tennant is greatly due to the stories of his arc; they were written and wrapped up beautifully by the end of season 4. All the major players from the past three seasons came back together for the final hurrah and to save the Earth from the evil Daleks (again). The final episodes are bittersweet, to put it mildly, due to the mixture of heartwarming reunions, life-threatening danger, and tearful goodbyes. The Doctor must always say goodbye, and I cried for him in the end, because in the end he’s always alone. Sarah Jane, Captain Jack, Martha, Rose..

The Lonely Doctor, he’s called. Everyone else has someone else, and he must press on brokenhearted.

It almost forces one to ask: wouldn’t it be better for the Doctor to always be alone? To never forge those bonds, make those friendships, fall in love…to spare himself the inevitable pain?

In his book A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken says no; it’s better, in the end, to have had the good things in life in spite of the tragedy of losing them. He’d rather have the beauty and the pain than have nothing at all. The heights and the depths.

It makes me think about the cost of marriage – loneliness, separation, heartbreak. Jordan and I have sometimes talked about the sad truth that one day, one of us will, more than likely, die before the other. We will not always be together in the way we are now, and sometimes that terrifies me. But, as Jordan once said, that’s the cost of marriage: that one day we will be alone. One day, our hearts will break. That is the price we pay for the joy and blessing of marriage that we currently enjoy.

But The Doctor is better with a companion. He’s humanized; he’s humbled; he’s comforted; he laughs. He’s happiest when he can share his adventures with someone else, even if that someone won’t always be around. The joy seems worth the pain.


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