I realised yesterday that for more than half my life Eastenders has been my companion! I haven't watched it solidly for twenty five years, but at various times have found my self gripped by a storyline and compelled to make it part of my weekly routine. In fact Brookside, Neighbours, Coronation Street have all been there, to a lesser degree, as parallel narratives to my own, rather less dramatic, real life. In fact all have been a significant bit of escapism for me - and the weekend omnibus editions a real treat. Last night's live edition of Eastenders however, could not be left to be part of the Sunday omnibus, and although I had missed much of the run-up 'live' had to be live.
It was a gripping episode and the acting (sometimes criticised in soaps) superb. The revelation of who really did kill Archie Mitchell coming totally unexpectedly at the end. I wonder whether Brother Lawrence found escapism in the monastery kitchen? The practical preoccupation with food preparation, acting as part of the rhythm of work and rest? or am I just justifying my own interest in the dramatic portrayal of real life on television ? Reading the Bible however, particularly the Old Testament, can feel sometimes like viewing an edition of Eastenders - lust, adultery, greed, selfishness, love, pride, violence, murder - they are all there, as is a search for some kind of morality, the human spirit that shines through, the attempts to make sense of life, with or without God. It may be a bit far fetched that so much happens in one small square in just twenty five years, but the issues of life are all there. Perhaps, like the Bible, it is not for us to make sense of everything, but to enjoy it for what it is, and attempt to name the glimmers of goodness in the ordinariness, and often drama, of life.