The Doctor: Times change and so must I. We all change. When you think about it, we’re all different people all through our lives. And that’s OK. That’s good. Gotta keep it moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when the Doctor was me.
We all knew this was going to kill us. We’ve known about the farewell for months, we’ve anticipated the arrival of Peter Capaldi, we’ve speculated about how and why and every last detail of what would happen, but this Christmas the heart-rending moment finally came: time to say goodbye to the eleventh Doctor once and for all.
“The Time of the Doctor” was, in my opinion, one of the best episodes in Smith’s run. It hit all the right notes of suspense, humor, and gut-wrenching emotion that you expect from a farewell episode. It developed the romantic relationship between the Doctor and Clara (I CALLED IT I CALLED IT LAST SPRING DO YOU ALL REMEMBER WHEN I CALLED IT BECAUSE I TOTALLY DID) in some new and interesting ways. It finally tied up the loose ends from a number of plot threads that have been up and running since the very beginning of Eleven’s episodes. Most importantly, though, it culminated in a beautiful farewell monologue by Matt Smith, where the voices of the Doctor and the actor were blurred at times and you really got a sense of closure for Smith’s iteration of the beloved time lord. I cried. A lot. I regret nothing.
I thought that it was an excellent choice to connect the Doctor’s imminent regeneration with the idea of change and transition as normal people grow and develop. It really brought to the forefront a concept that has always been a part of the Doctor’s regenerations–really, that has been the bedrock of the entire series, from the very beginning. Life is change. We truly are constantly becoming different people. It’s kind of terrifying, really.
It has now been three years since I graduated college. I’ve become a lot of things in those three years, some of which I’ve liked and some that I haven’t. I became a mother. I became a grad student. I tried and failed and tried again at a number of different ministry scenarios. I’ve battled depression. I’ve experienced great joy. In the middle of it all, sometimes it’s hard to remember the kind of person that I used to be, to measure whether I like the me that I am more or less than I liked the me that I was months and years ago. And sometimes I just think about the person that I’ve become and am just terrified simply because that person is different–I am not the same; how can that be a good thing?
How can it be a good thing when we wake up and find ourselves to be different people than we were before?
It’s in times like that, when I’m reflecting on the changes I’ve undergone, that I think the words of the Doctor are so comforting. They remind me that my God is a God of New Creation. He promised that when I decided to follow Him, my life would never be the same. He continues to shape me, through life experiences and inner transformation, into a new person, each and every day. And that’s a good thing. It doesn’t mean, though, that I have to forget the people that I’ve been.
There are a lot of things I can learn from my past “regenerations,” to use a Doctor Who term (yes. I’m being corny. It’s my blog and I have the right to be corny so there :P). I think about the relationships of my youth and the things I learned about myself and about others. I think about the wonderful people who have poured into my life and am inspired to pour into others the same way. I remember the struggles I went through and am strengthened to help others experiencing struggles of their own. I remember God’s faithfulness to me in the past and am reminded that He will continue to be faithful in the future. The people that I have been continue to shape me, continue to challenge me in positive and negative ways, helping me fix my eyes on Christ and on the person that He will help me to become tomorrow.
Life in Christ is a journey, and on that journey we remember and appreciate, but we also leave behind. The people that we once were do not chain us to the patterns and lifestyles of yesterday–they inform us, but we are also made new by the grace of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation–the old is gone, the new has come!” I am freed to become all that God has for me tomorrow–informed by the people I have been, but never confined to them.
Farewell Matt Smith. I will continue to follow your career with interest, and I will look back on your time as the Doctor fondly.
Welcome Peter Capaldi. You had me laughing through my tears in those final moments of the Christmas special, and I am so excited about all you will bring to the Doctor’s adventures–even if you don’t like the color of your kidneys 🙂
And as for all of my lovely readers, I hope you will not forget one line, one day of who you are right now at this very moment. One day, you will be somebody else. Remember when the Doctor was you.