“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).”
In the season finale of the medical drama “House”, an episode called “Help Me”, Dr. Gregory House is trying to save a woman trapped underground when a crane collapsed on the building she was in. Her leg is caught under debris. House, who himself has a bad leg, is resisting the pleas of Dr. Lisa Cuddy and an emergency medical technician to amputate the woman’s leg in order to free her.
In the chaos of the disaster scene, Cuddy and House have it out. There has been romantic tension between them for a long time, but Cuddy is now engaged to another man. She yells at House, telling hin that even though his leg was saved, he has nothing. He is all alone. So what good did saving his leg do him. She says she will go back down to the woman and try to convince her to let them amputate her leg.
A few minutes later, House crawls through the clutter to Cuddy and the trapped woman and tells the latter that she should let them amputate her leg. After all, he says, it’s only a leg. House tells her the story of how his leg was saved. He also explains that he wish it hadn’t been. House is in constant pain and he has become a hard person. He has no one as a result.
The woman agrees to let him perform the surgery and House amputates her leg. On the way to the hospital, with House in the ambulance with the woman and her husband, the woman dies anyway.
House is distraught. He has finally lost the woman he loves and the patient he has spent hours trying to save has died. House reaches his home and goes to the bathroom where he has hidden a stash of Vicodin, a painkiller to which he has been previously addicted. Slumped on the floor, holding the drug in his hand, he is ready to douse not only his physical pain, but his emotional trauma as well, and return to vomit.
As I watch, I am thinking, “Don’t do it, House! Don’t return to your addiction!” Then a figure appears and House asks,”You going to leap across the room and grab them out of my hand?”. Cuddy appears and says,”No. It’s your choice if you want to go back on drugs.”
House wants to know why Cuddy is there. “You here to yell at me again?”, he asks. She tells him that in fact, she has ended her relationship with her fiance’.
“I’m stuck, House”, Cuddy says.”I keep wanting to move on, and I can’t…I mean, my new house with my new fiance’, and all I can think about is you. I just need to know if you and I can work.”
House asks her,”You think I can fix myself?” Cuddy replies,”I don’t know”. House continues,”…’Cause I’m the most screwed up person in the world.”
Cuddy answers, “I know. I love you. I wish I didn’t, but I can’t help it.”
One reason I like this program is because it depicts real people with real messed up relationships. However, this ending of the season went against the norm. In the real world, Lisa Cuddy would have dumped the screwed-up Gregory House for good and married the new guy. House would have gone on in his despair and substance abuse into the new season.
After the show ended, I had a hard time buying the conclusion. However, in retrospect, I have warmed to it. Here’s why. Lisa Cuddy stuck with her man despite his screwiness. She loved him, and that was that.
There’s biblical precedence for Cuddy’s response. Hosea the prophet married an adulterous woman, who continued in her shameful ways. However, Hosea actually bought her back from her prostitution (Hosea 3:2). Job prayed for his friends, who had verbally abused him in his suffering and spoke falsehoods about God (Job 42:10).
In fact, in both cases, it was God who engineered the grace shown by these two men (Hosea 3:1; Job 42:7,8). It even seems in Job’s case that his own restoration was contingent on his prayers for his buddies (Job 42:10).
God is the epitome of pure, unconditional love (Hosea 14:4). Jesus Christ became the embodiment of it (Isaiah 9:6; John 3:16,17).
Once when I was having a hard time with some people at work, a colleague told me,”If you want unconditional love, get a puppy.”
I thought she was right in her pronouncement. We usually do not receive this kind of unreserved love in this world. That’s why I thought the “House” ending was unrealistic.
However, perhaps the fictional Dr. Lisa Cuddy is on to something real. We may not get unconditional love from people, even those we ourselves love, but we can surely give it.