Idol Chatter

No character on television represents my own spiritual journey better than Gregory House, protagonist of FOX’s “House.” Flawed yet searching, abrasive in his search for answers, Dr. House has gone through a series of challenges, culminating with last season’s near-death experience. And now that the cranky doctor is still alive and back for a third season, I continue to be amazed at the way this series flips spiritual themes upside down.

In last night’s episode, House is no longer walking with his cane, thanks to the success of a risky surgery performed on his leg. He is now, with great difficulty, adjusting to a new life without physical pain. He is also a somewhat kinder, gentler version of himself. Because his co-workers like the new and improved House, some of them decide they don’t just want to fix him physically, but they also want to fix him spiritually. They feel House gave a reckless diagnosis and treatment to a patient, and so his colleagues take the opportunity to teach House a lesson in humility by telling him the treatment failed–when it fact it had worked.

The failure doesn’t sit well with House, who suddenly questions every personal and medical decision he makes. And then there is the pain in his leg that mysteriously begins to return. Is it real or a symptom of depression?

When House discovers that his co-workers betrayed him, he lashes out at them, and rightly so. While they often have accused him of playing God with his patients, it is, in fact, his fellow doctors who have played God, this time with House’s life, by tricking him. More importantly, House challenges the notion that humility only reveals itself by outward signs of modesty. House is humbled by the leg pain that is returning as well as by the Vicodin addiction he can’t quite beat.

As always, it remains to be seen how House will grow as a person as he continues to wrestle with fresh physical and emotional pain. However, just like my own tumultuous journey, I am sure House’s journey will continue to be unexpected, but, in the end, very rewarding.

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