Faith & Fandom
The Doctor, River, & The Singing Towers Of Darillium
After finishing "The Husbands of River Song," I wasn't in love with the episode, or even the concept of the Christmas special, but it left me with some lingering feelings in regards to the Doctor and River's relationship, and of course like everything else geeky I ingest, how it applies to my life socially and spiritually. Overall it left me feeling like this is what it looks like when relationships have distance, repressed feelings, and unresolved conflict. Obviously, the relationship between The Doctor and River is a complicated one, wibbly wobbly and what not, but even more so, that there wasn’t a lot of effort made by the Doctor. As we see in the short "First Night/Last Night," The Doctor did take River on dates but he didn’t put a fraction of the effort he could have into their relationship, especially after the Ponds were gone. That would have been the perfect time to cling together. The Doctor didn't really try, and to be fair, River turned down the concept. In the aftermath of this episode I think I fully understand why she wouldn’t be his full time companion, because she didn't think he really cared enough to actually want it to be her.
River: "The Doctor does not and has never loved me. I'm not lying..."
Fleming: "You are the woman who loves the Doctor."
River: "Yes, I am. I’ve never denied it. But whoever said he loved me back? He’s the Doctor. He doesn’t go around falling in love with people. And if you think he’s that small or that ordinary, then you don’t have the first idea of what you’re dealing with...When you love the Doctor, it’s like loving the stars themselves. You don’t expect a sunset to admire you back. And if I happen to find myself in danger, let me tell you, the Doctor is not stupid enough, or sentimental enough, and he is certainly not in love enough to find himself standing in it with me!"
Watching her say this broke my heart, but seeing The Doctor's reaction to it was equally painful. I know this because I have been there. There are times when I know that in relationships, whether friendships, dating, or even marriage that I've felt like that people I cared about the most didn't care about me at all. Students that I had poured years of my life into, family members I have provided for, leaders I followed, the few people I have truly trusted to consider friends and let close to my heart, all of these people at some time or another have left me feeling that my love, care, concern, compassion, and sincerity were completely one sided. In some cases this was true, it was one sided; in other occasions it's been that those people truly did care but just really sucked at showing it. Maybe it was time, maybe it was because they didn’t see the need, but their hearts and actions failed to line up.
We have to be deliberate and intentional with the relationships in our life, or the people we actually love and appreciate could go literally years with thinking they don’t matter at all.
Philippians 2: "3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus."
When we consider others to be more significant that ourselves, we place their concerns and well be being to be as vital, if not more than, our own. If we don't allow our motives in our relationships to others to be selfish, we are more likely to actually be an encouragement to the people in our lives. But the reality is right now, there is probably someone who cares about you deeply that feels like they are virtually worthless to you. It's as simple as this, if you haven't intentionally shown the people in your life you care about them, they probably don't know you do. Different things show different people that they matter, Time, Acts Of Service, Affection, Gifts, Words of Encouragement, Jelly Babies, Fezzes (shout out to Dr. Gary Chapman for 5 of those), different things mean the most to different people. Clara was a hugger, I believe Rory was a words of encouragement kinda guy, and for River it was Time. The dates she would go on with the Doctor while the Ponds slept meant the world to her. River knew the Doctor would come help her when she needed him (the Doctor leans more towards acts of service), but to her, time was important. The Doctor was always on the go, always off to another destination, and notably, he was always accompanied by some other companion. Except while the Ponds were sleeping, he never really chose to have her be his companion.
"The Husbands of River Song" was the first adventure they had together where the Doctor was officially companionless, and River spent most of the episode oblivious. But she made it clear that what she needed most from The Doctor was his time. River wanted The Doctor's time, much like Paul felt for the Corinthians,
"For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits." 1 Corinthians 16:7.
The Doctor really missed how much this meant to River.
The Doctor: "Times end River, because they have to. Because there's no such thing as happy ever after. It's just a lie we tell ourselves because the truth is so hard.
River: "No Doctor, you're wrong. Happy ever after doesn’t mean forever it just means time. A little time. But that's not the sort of thing you could ever understand, is it?"
But he did eventually get it, giving her 24 years of focused time and attention. Truly giving her a happy ever after, even if it didn’t last forever. By the time she showed up in the Library and met 10 she knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that The Doctor loved her.
Unfortunately, there aren't going to be many situations where we have 24 distraction free years of our lives to devote to anyone, let alone the countless people in our lives that truly need our love. So to make an effort to actually give ourselves to the people we love the most, and that need our love the most. Like we see in Romans 12: "10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
We have to be devoted to one another in love.
If I were to ask you to name the 5 people the Doctor cared about the most, who would you list? My list would be 1. River 2. Rose
3. Amy/Rory4. Clara 5. Donna
Ok, let's flip this, who are the 5 people you care about the most? Seriously go ahead and write their names in (sorry Kindle readers) 1.__________________________
Do they know you care that much about them? What are you doing to show them? Are you showing them in a way that actually means something to them? Are you giving them fish fingers and custard when what they really need is time at the towers of Darillium? Are you flying them all over time and space when what they really need is a fez? Or are you straight up ignoring them like Martha Jones? Please be aware, if you care about people in your life, don't assume they know it. Show them.
"Better is open rebuke than hidden love." - Proverbs 27:5