I know I’m very late to the game, but I finished the final season of “Schitt’s Creek” this week. And honestly, David? I cried.
One of the many points of praise for the show is the way it portrays the love story between David and Patrick. Unlike the portrayal of most same-sex relationships — love triumphing over obstacles, love weathering the storms of opposition — David and Patrick’s was simply about… falling in love.
The show’s creators admit that they imagined a kind of perfect world in the town of Schitt’s Creek that made this sort of love story possible — a “hate-free” zone where there weren’t major plot points devoted to suspicion or disgust or polarization over two men loving each other. They admit that such a world is more aspirational than reality. It’s the world we might, one day, find we can achieve.
I’m also reading Braiding Sweetgrass right now, the essays of Robin Wall Kimmerer, a botanist who weaves together her knowledge of the science of plants with her reflections on her Anishinaabe ancestry. In a beautiful piece about the differences between a “gift economy” and a capitalist one, she has this stunning line: “We can choose.”
She reminds us that, after all, these are both simply stories we tell about how things work. Once, the dominant story was the one of gift. Now, it’s the story that portrays everything as a commodity to be bought and sold. “One of these stories opens the way to living in gratitude and amazement at the richness and generosity of the world. One of these stories asks us to bestow our own gifts in kind, to celebrate our kinship with the world. We can choose. If all the world is a commodity, how poor we grow. When all the world is a gift in motion, how wealthy we become.”
“We can choose,” she said.
And, we do choose. Every day, in small and big ways, we get to choose the stories that we will tell, that we will hear, that we will live. We may not be able to choose the stories that influence policy in the church or the capitol, but we can choose the stories that form our hearts, our vision, and our actions. We can choose the stories that awaken within us awe and gratitude, kinship and grace.
David and Patrick’s love story — funny, quirky, and beautiful — moved me in that way that Robin Wall Kimmerer describes, moved me closer to “gratitude and amazement at the richness and generosity of the world.” It helped me to see past the struggle story, beyond the inspiration that comes through oppression and hardship and dehumanization. It reminded me that, at the end, we are not aiming just to overcome; eventually, our aim is to flourish.
So “Schitt’s Creek” was a little holy place on Netflix for me. I mean, mostly it just made me laugh. (I *dare* you to watch Moira sing “Oh Danny Boy” and keep a straight face.) But I’m grateful that it also widened my lens. It helped me remember again the power of the story that I get to choose, every day. The one that chooses flourishing, spaciousness, gratitude, and love.