I learned long ago to be careful about recommending movies or television shows to anyone. Either they’ll hate the show and wonder about you, or they’ll love the show and tell other people you recommended it. Then, chances are, a good many of those people will wonder about both of you. But I’ll take the chance.
I really like the “Blue Bloods” television series. I like it even though it punches my buttons so seriously that more than once I’ve found myself misty-eyed at the end of the show. (I’m not embarrassed about that, but it’s not a reaction I go looking for when I turn on the tube.)
The show features Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan, the police commissioner of New York City. Selleck is a bit like Sean Connery: he just gets better with age. Probably I also like him because of the obvious resemblance between us. (Yeah. Two legs. Two arms.)
I like the action of the series. I like a good “police show.” I like the cast in general. But most of all, I can sum up what I like in two words. Family and faith.
The Reagans in the series are from a long line of Irish-Catholic New York City police officers. Selleck plays Frank Reagan, the present police commissioner. His wife has died. One of his sons was a young police officer killed by crooked cops. His two surviving sons are police officers, one of them married with two young sons. His daughter is a deputy district attorney, divorced with a teenage daughter. His father, the patriarch of the family, retired as police commissioner himself.
Each week the Reagans have “family dinner” where everyone from Grandpa Henry to the youngest grandchild has a chair and a voice. They laugh together, cry together, support each other, challenge each other, love each other, and share life together. And I like that. A lot.
In a recent episode, Frank, usually the strong and loving father, has confessed to his own father the deep (survivor’s) guilt he feels. Frank and a fellow chief and friend were in the North Tower of the World Trade Center when the South Tower came down, and his friend is dying, years later, because of what he inhaled that day.
Henry listens and then says, “Son, I don’t know why Chief McKenna got sick from the air down there and you didn’t. Just like I don’t know why He [God] took Mary and Joe from us too soon, but I see God’s light in this family every day. And though I may not understand it, I trust in His plan for us all.”
I never care for “God took” words at times of grief, but it surely seems to me there is much to like in Grandpa’s wisdom, words you’re not likely to hear much on television these days.
I like what he says. I understand it better than I once did. And it’s no small blessing if you and your family can say the same thing.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org