If you’re anything like me, you send the kids to bed a few minutes early on Tuesday nights so that you don’t miss one second of the popular new show, “This Is Us” on NBC. (And if they’re not quite in bed when the clock hits 8:00 CST, you’re praising Jesus for your DVR or Hulu subscription.) Right?
I’ll be honest. The show had me hooked from episode one. If you’ve somehow managed to make it this long without watching yet, just wait… you’ll fall quickly in love with each character just like we all have.
Before I say anything else, I need to make a few fast disclaimers.
- Spoilers ahead. Sorry not sorry.
- The show portrays real life situations – many of which are controversial. This isn’t where we’re going to stop and talk about what we should and shouldn’t be watching on TV. Okay? (Do I have big feelings on that? Yes. See my article on 50 Shades here. Are we talking about that right now? No.)
So, moving on, what was so powerful about last Tuesday night’s episode? As usual, the show hit on some major topics. In particular, the internet has been buzzing about the realistic portrayal of crippling panic/anxiety attacks. I was moved to tears by that scene. But there were a few things leading up to that moment that made it even more powerful when we stop and consider them.
You guys, just when we think we’ve got Kevin figured out…
This guy has always wanted to make sure he stood out despite being grouped in the middle of the big three. He pursued acting. He was cast as a not-so-bright character on the wildly popular sitcom “The Manny,” until one day when he realized he wanted to be taken seriously.
He didn’t just want to be seen. He wanted to be understood… but that would require him to figure out who he was first.
Kevin reminds me of King Solomon in Scripture. Not because of his wisdom, but because King Solomon had everything he could have ever wanted, yet nothing truly satisfied his heart. When King Solomon recognized this, he said in Ecclesiastes 1:14, “I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless–like chasing the wind.” (NLT)
Kevin seems to be realizing this same truth. He has been on a search for purpose and identity the entire season, but something transformative happened on Tuesday night’s episode. It wasn’t until Kevin remembered who his father was that he really began to understand who he was.
This is why this episode is so powerful for Christians. Okay, it’s powerful for EVERYONE, but Christian friends… hear me on this.
We’ve watched Kevin realize that his identity couldn’t just be wrapped up in being “The Manny.” We’ve watched him try to find his purpose as an artist on Broadway. We’ve wondered who Kevin Pearson would grow up to be.
But the conversation with Miguel changed everything. Didn’t it?
When Miguel leaned over to Kevin and said, “When the curtain goes up, you remember you’re Jack Pearson’s son,” Kevin found a new identity. He wasn’t just Kevin. He wasn’t just all of the roles he had played and decisions he had made. He was Jack Pearson’s son, and that meant something.
It’s why when the lights came up on the stage, Kevin wasn’t standing there. He was running to his brother. Being Jack Pearson’s son meant that Kevin could leave everything that he was looking to for his identity and find His true identity as He stepped into the role of a son and brother. Watch the powerful scene here.
— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) February 15, 2017
I don’t know what plans they have for him in the upcoming episodes, but I know this. We are all Kevin Pearson.
We are all on some sort of journey to figure out who we really are, what we really want, what we want to be known for… And so much of it is a chasing after the wind.
But, you guys, our greatest and purest identity will always be found in who our Father is… as sons… as daughters… as children of God. Because when we remember what we saw our Father do, we can understand how to live it out as well.
Jesus prayed to His Father in John 17, “The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind— Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, So they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, So they’ll be as unified and together as we are…” (Message Translation)
You guys, we’ve all been divided for so long. We’ve been self-focused, self-concerned, self-absorbed… not in an ugly way… just in the way that means we’re busy… we’re thinking about our own homes and our own lives and our own plans.
There’s us and there’s them. And both sides think they are the us.
But there is something powerful that happens when we remember who our Heavenly Father is. There is something powerful that happens when we remember that He commanded us to love one another. There is something extraordinary that takes place when we finally realize we will only be certain of who we are when we see ourselves first as children of God.
Because This is Us… is all of us.