In my first regular post, let’s just get this out there. My favorite character is Luke. In an age where many are rooting for the underdog and cheering for the peripheral characters, I am a fan of the New Hope to the bitter end. There is just something about his life, his journey and his lineage that calls to me. And there is something that calls me out of myself – out of my comfortable world to something greater.
This calling is innate in all of us. It calls us from our childish states to a greater maturity. Luke heard this call and left his home in order to fulfill his greater purpose as the emerging heir to the Jedi.
Luke had to leave the comfort of the Lars family farm in order to pursue his higher calling. This is a model for us: knowing the home we came from and what it means to return to it. But, as we are more and more likely to say these days, spoiler alert: you can’t return home the same as you left it. Luke leaves Tatooine with Obi-Wan Kenobi and is trained in a mystical life that he never heard about before. He joins a rebellion against the accepted order of the galaxy and strikes out against the Empire. He returns home years later, but not as the same farmboy he was before. When the doors of Jabba’s Palace open up, we are confronted with a mysterious man. Hooded and sure of the power that is resonant in him. Trained in the ways of a deeper spirituality and intent on freeing the good from the clutches of the vile. This new man that we see is a threat to evil and has grasped the life for which he was destined. He is not the same dusty haired boy. He is a man, a Jedi, that has returned home – and he will soon leave it for even greater things.
On the skiff before the mighty Jabba, when Luke and Han are able to share a moment together, Luke tells his old buddy “I was born here, you know.” Han responds with what seems so obvious: “You’re going to die here, you know.” How wrong he is. Luke would have died had he stayed there those several years ago. The Luke we know would never have been reborn had he stayed for one more season.
And then one more season.
And then all of the seasons.
No. Luke left and was transformed into the potential great Jedi he was known to be from the moment his mother brought him into being.
This past summer my family and I went through a similar self realization. We stayed in a wicked awesome town on a peninsula of the Boston Harbor. I think it is a good idea for everybody to get away from their daily lives occasionally. There was a deeper reason that I wanted to visit the Bay State. I lived there for a short time back before Dark Force Rising was published. That was a long time ago. I wanted to take my kids to see the places and sights that my parents had shown me when I was young. On this trip we visited Boston, Salem and Plymouth. Each of these places brought back very distant memories – some of them positive, some of them not as happy. We had fun touring and were well rested at the end of the week.
On the way home, we visited the neighborhood in which we lived for those years. As we pulled into the entrance, I was overcome with emotion. I teared up a little, remembering many things that I had not sorted through in my life.
As we pulled up to my old house, I was no longer the little boy who had a crush on the neighbor girl – I am now a married man trying to teach my kids about the world. I don’t deliver newspapers anymore, but I have many professional responsibilities. I did not return as an impetuous boy, but as a man with scars on his back and an awesome family by my side. The nostalgia was fun for a few minutes, but I felt spurned on to make my adult life even better – to achieve the potential that has been given to me to attain.
This potential is not found in the security of our nurseries or doting grandparents, but in the risk taking that leads to great reward. Don’t get me wrong. If you are blessed enough to go on your journey in the proximity of your family, that can be a great blessing. None of this is about physical location, but spiritual and emotional maturity. It can be gained anywhere – but not by wishing for the more childish states of our lives. The human person was built to grow, to stretch, to mature and to become more. To become a blessing to those around us through what we have gained and what we can offer to our neighbors.
Han was wrong. No one should die where they are born. We are born, we grow, we love, we lose, and we ought to offer the best we have to further the growth of all around us. Our lives are missions. Luke leaves the homestead and sets out for greater things in the galaxy – occasionally visiting his homeworld. In more recently released Star Wars lore, we see Kanan furthering the meaning in his life and Ezra leaving his hovel for the family on the Ghost and Jedi training.
When returning home – whether to our ancestral homes, a spiritual community, or back from some life changing vacation to our regular old daily lives – promise yourself that you will have grown and reached for a little higher than you were before.
So, here we are. Hopefully some of us are new friends, and we can meet up here each month to have more talk of these things. George Lucas set out to create a modern myth that we can engage with in order to better understand the world around us. He pointed out the need to leave the comforts of our home and the surety of our lives in order to reach our greater potential. This is the entirety of our spiritual lives – to rise above our childish states to become mature men and women who can become mentors to the next generation.
Please leave comments on this and all my posts – I really look forward to it. You can find me on Twitter at @adelphotheos and email here at jamesw@CoffeeWithKenobi.com, as long as I am not listening to the latest edition of the Coffee With Kenobi podcast!
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