What Friday Night Lights taught me about community & the need to connect

Jul 27, 2011Family Uncaged, Find joy today, Kingdom Uncaged

If you’re a writer (or a human!) and you haven’t watched Friday Night lights, the five season sleeper about Texas high school football (and oh-so-much-more), do yourself a favor and watch all the seasons. Really.

I will say that the themes in the show are a bit racy at times, but they’re oh-so-very real. The characters jump off the screen so much that you wish they lived in your town. When Patrick and I finished the last episode of the last season, he skyped me and said we should invite the coach and his wife Tami over for dinner. Then he said he wanted to hang out with the Riggins boys. (I told him a firm no.)

This is what great writing does. Friday Night Lights garnered Emmys because we fell in love with living, breathing, believable people.

But it did something more for me than simply demonstrate compelling writing. It made me long to deepen my relationships. I realized that for the past several years, healing from our time in France, I’ve preferred isolation and surface living to delving into friendships. I’ve kept my heart distant from new friends, only trusting old friends. I grew suspicious of new relationships, and I tended to keep away from anyone who seemed needy.

Watching Friday Night Lights reminded me that there is tremendous joy (and heartache) when we invest in people. In my desire to eliminate heartache, I killed the joy too.

I need to connect, folks. God is pushing me toward it. And He used a well-written TV show to stir in me a longing I felt had died. Because of the show, I want to know my neighbors. Because of the relationships, tangled as they were, I long to pursue new friendships. Even with the pain that comes when we invest and see the investment fizzle, I would rather step into relationship than to withdraw.

That’s the power of a good story.

I’ll leave you on a funny note:

All the Y’alls by Tami Taylor.

(This makes me smile, as I haven’t y’all-ed much in Texas.)


What show has helped you move toward relationship? When have you been afraid to invest in people? What has helped you invest again?