The series finale of How I Met Your Mother aired on Monday night and regardless of how you felt about the conclusion (after Breaking Bad, everybody’s just fighting for 2nd place in series finales), it’s always impressive when a television show survives for 9 seasons.
I didn’t really get on the HIMYM bandwagon until the show was almost over but I’ve watched the whole series a few times in the last two or three years. As a television show, How I Met Your Mother has done what only a few others have (The Office, Friends, etc.), make you feel like these characters on a show are actually your friends. Maybe it’s because the character development has been consistently good over a long period of time. Maybe it’s because the characters remind me so much of real people and real relationships in my life, both past and present.
I got to watch the finale late Tuesday night after our home group and I’ve been reflecting on the show as a whole since then. I realized that Christians can learn something from each one of the five characters.
Your career is not what’s most important and won’t make you happy if you sacrifice relationships to be successful. An old pastor once told me “Everyone’s replaceable.” This simple truth is profound – often when you overwork, obsess, and consume yourself with work, the day comes when you leave, or are told to leave, and you find yourself wondering what you have to show for it. Sure, you might gain some success, money and social status.
In the season finale, Robin has achieved all her wildest career dreams…and finds herself terribly alone and unfulfilled. You should work hard. You should get ahead. You should be excellent at your job. But don’t lose track of what matters most in life.
Without a doubt the main character of the show, the HIMYM faithful have rooted for Ted for 9 seasons now. If Ted has taught us anything, it’s this: never give up hope. While Ted eventually leads a very happy life, his life is pretty good even while he’s pursuing the ever elusive “the one.” Ted lives his life in between where he is and where he wants to go, like so many others. Throughout all the confusion and disappointment, Ted never lost hope.
Marshall and Lily
Put your spouse first. Friends come and go. Kids are born and life gets crazy, so I’ve heard. Your marriage should be a source of consistency in your life that weathers the storms of moves, changing friends, heartache, new jobs, etc. A great marriage doesn’t just happen overnight and it takes both people being all-in. (See: Marriage Monday: Nobody Owes You Happiness).
After all the legendary nights, high-fives, and slap bets, Barney Stinson teaches us that everyone can change. Barney eventually matures past his endless string of one night stands and settles down in marital bliss…only to find himself divorced and alone after 3 years. He learns that money, sex, and power are broken cisterns that can’t hold true happiness. However, Barney doesn’t end up alone and he doesn’t end up as the same old Barney. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or how much baggage you’ve brought with you; everyone can change.
What else can we learn from the HIMYM characters?