So, I’m going to do something I haven’t done before in a blog this year. I’m going to connect a lesson I’ve learned this month to a pop culture reference…
Some of you may know that the fourth season of Sherlock aired this month. I happened to be re-watching the previous three seasons when I learned it was airing again. I was so pumped! I love Sherlock! I quickly finished the new season and just had to rewatch the finale only days later.
SPOILER ALERT: Sherlock learns he has a younger sister, Eurus, who has been locked up in a secret asylum according to orders given by his older brother Mycroft. She was imprisoned at a young age because her intelligence far surpassed that of her brothers’ and she used it with malicious intent. In the finale, the brothers discover that she may have escaped and in a visit to the prison, they are tricked by her into a violent and demonic game of “life or death.” Sherlock fights his way through the game because he is led to believe Eurus has trapped a young girl on a plane full of people who are drugged to sleep, on a course to crash, and only his completion of the puzzle will save her.
DAAAAAANG, am I right?
Don’t worry, it all ends happily ever after. Er, well, at least as happily ever after as Sherlock can be. Sherlock solves the puzzle, Eurus remains in the asylum, and Mycroft gets a good scolding from the parents.
I found in this episode, an important lesson brought to me in my time in the Episcopal Service Corps. The Episcopal baptismal vow ends with the question, “will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?”
Over and over I saw how Mycroft viewed Eurus so poorly, as if beneath him, and made judgements based on very limited and extreme interactions with her. Sherlock, on the other hand, simply wanted to know more about her. He worked on the game, knowing it gave him the information necessary to understand her. Upon solving the puzzle, he discovers that there is no girl on a crashing plane – at least not really. The entire time Eurus has been trying to get her brothers to understand that when she closes her eyes she imagines herself to be that little girl in the plane. Surrounded by people who should be able to help her, but can’t, she feels herself tumbling into destruction.
This season ends highlighting a major transformation in Sherlock’s character – his humanity. By becoming accustomed to his own humanity, he learns to see it in another. He felt his sister was worthy of explanation, of understanding, and of compassion. Eurus remains in the asylum, which seems pretty unfortunate for her. However, she gains a brother, a family, and is finally acknowledged for who she is.
I think my connection between this episode of Sherlock and the Episcopal vow is what led to the Netflix-binging. Seeing this message illustrated in one of my favorite shows definitely let it sink in a bit more. I suddenly saw the times when I’ve acted like Mycroft and tried to determine what would be different if I acted more similar to Sherlock. I can think of numerous occasions where I failed in “respecting the dignity in all humans” with my housemates, coworkers, and clients.
Most recently, I find myself noticing this lack of judgement in our government and many American citizens. Therefore, I am sharing my challenge of the month! Feel free to take them on as well!
I will have more challenging conversations with people who have different views than me. No strategizing offense, or defense; simply opening myself up to discussion.
When we don’t have conversations, we put others and ourselves in boxes with strict labels. Start learning about all the stories that make up a person, not just the one you assume. By labeling and confining people we create more tension and disagreement. Start listening to what others have to say. Get to know what goes through their head and why – what you might be hearing is a cry for help.
Attached is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDTalk on the danger of a single story. Highly recommend!