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Force and Faith:  Luke Returns Home as a Man and a Jedi

Force and Faith: Luke Returns Home as a Man and a Jedi

Force and Faith Sabers SquareIn 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.

Uncle Owen showing Luke how far he could go.

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.

You're going to die here, you know.

You’re going to die here, you know.

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.

Luke Arrives Jabbas Palace

The reborn man arrives to save his friends.

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.

Preparing to become something more.

Preparing to become something more.

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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10 Comments

  1. Joe2
    October 22, 2014 at 12:15 Reply

    Great 1st entry, James. I also had the opportunity to return to my hometown for a visit. During that time I went to all the different houses and neighborhoods that I had lived in and was reminded of how much I had grown in the years since I had lived in those homes. As you said, it was important that we realize how much we grow, not just in size, but in maturity and wisdom, and not be stagnate.

    Thanks for your entry, James, and welcome to the CWK family.

    1. James Worthington
      October 22, 2014 at 14:53 Reply

      Thanks for the warm welcome. Very happy to be here! Nostalgia is fun when it’s about vinyl records. It can be dangerous when we live our lives in the past. At least, that is my experience so far.

  2. Pam Bruchwalski
    October 22, 2014 at 23:05 Reply

    From one newbie CWK blogger to another, welcome! I love this entry and believe you are 100% correct. If one returns “home,” and everything is exactly the same in his heart and mind, something is terribly wrong. “Home” is just a starting point. For many of us, it’s something we must overcome. For all of us, its’ a place we must grow from.

    Anakin is my Star Wars guy and his story, like his son’s, is all about growth and change and escape from the the dusty, desolate homeworld of Tatooine. The comparisons and contrasts between their journeys are fascinating.

    Maybe I’ll write about them…

    Welcome, again.

    1. Pam Bruchwalski
      October 22, 2014 at 23:13 Reply

      (Please excuse the its’/it’s typo. I took some Benadryl for a cold…I’ll blame that!)

    2. James Worthington
      October 24, 2014 at 09:12 Reply

      Thank you! You bring up Tatooine, and the saga keeps going back there for a starting point, or for some rebirth. Maybe we are headed back there.
      I look forward to your posts as well!

  3. Lisa
    October 23, 2014 at 21:46 Reply

    Wonderful entry! Luke is my favorite character as well, and his journey has always been an inspiration. I love that you included the image of Luke’s arrival at Jabba’s palace. It’s easily one of my favorite scenes, and it clearly shows just how much Luke has matured and grown in the Force. His inner strength is almost palpable at that moment! It’s funny, ANH is my favorite of the Saga, but all-but-one of my favorite Luke-related scenes come from ROTJ. It never really occurred to me till now…. Interesting.

    1. James Worthington
      October 24, 2014 at 09:19 Reply

      I overlooked the entrance of Luke into Jabba’s palace for years. Previously, I would have said that the relationship between Luke and Anakin was my favorite character. As I’ve grown up a bit and become a pastor, I started to see in Luke’s journey the potential that is inherent in all of us – though it comes with huge risks. Could you imagine facing down a gangster in his own home? Craziness! With huge risks come huge rewards.

  4. Melinda
    October 24, 2014 at 16:43 Reply

    What a wonderful blog, James! 😀 Like you, my favorite character — from the entire saga and its offshoots — is Luke. Has been since 1977. Will be until the day I die. How do I know this? In some areas, I do not waver. I know myself that well.

    I was roughly the same age Luke “was” in “A New Hope” (only “Star Wars” at the time 😉 ) when I saw the film in 1977. I could relate to him like no other character I had met either in a novel or on the silver screen. I was on the precipice of breaking away from home, and I paralleled what Luke experienced — although not on such a galactic level. 😉 I had parents — loving parents, I must point out — who wanted me to follow the life they wanted me to live. Like Luke. 😉 Uncle Owen, mostly (but Aunt Beru, too, I’d wager … to a certain extent), had Luke’s best interests at heart by wanting to keep his nephew close to home. Like Luke, I was frustrated by my parents’ hope I’d stay put. I knew this was born from their wanting for me what they thought was best for me. However, I had decidedly different ideas about how to live my own life, and I struck out on my own. It was going far away to college — living on my own and depending on myself — that allowed me to come into my own, to test my mettle, and gave me the confidence to forge my own path. Please understand I did not resent my parents for their beliefs in what they thought was “best for me”. I just knew — like Luke — that it was necessary for me to be true to myself. And I always knew I had a safe haven, should I ever need it. 🙂 (Sadly, Luke had that taken away from him.)

    When I had daughters of my own — daughters who knew at early ages that they wanted to go out and explore the world — I knew I would have to let them go, to give them the freedom to do so, to let them spread their wings and find their own paths. I would not encumber them with ideas of how I thought they should live their lives, what paths they should follow. Give them a strong foundation, and trust that they’ll be fine. I miss them, but that never would cause me to want them to come home — unless that was what they wanted. When each of them comes home for a visit, I can see how much they’ve grown and matured. 🙂 Neither is the same person she was when she was home last. I mean that in a good way. 🙂

    That “adventure” side of Luke touches a corner of my own personality, it’s true — but it is WHO Luke is and becomes that really draws me to his character. Always has. Always will.

    Thank you for stating so eloquently what I always have felt about that farm boy from Tatooine. 🙂

    MTFBWY 🙂

    1. James Worthington
      October 24, 2014 at 21:03 Reply

      Many thanks! All of the support and comments have been great and it means a lot to me to hear such nice things from so many good people.
      My oldest daughter has recently entered high school, and I think about a lot of these things – how well have I prepared her for the world? How much am I willing to let go? The circle never completes, it just rotates again for each generation.
      Will I be willing to let her (and my other kids in time) achieve their greatest potential? I certainly hope so.

      1. Melinda
        October 25, 2014 at 15:27 Reply

        Oh, James. The next four years will go by in a flash. Today, you may think you have lots of time … but …

        Your daughter is at such an exciting age! Sure, there will be moments (maybe even days 😉 ) when you want to pull out your hair because she is shrouded in teenage angst. Staying calm, cool and collected (you, that is! 🙂 ) will help you navigate the years ahead. And then there are the days when your daughter needs you immensely … and the next day, she pushes you away. What a roller coaster it can be!

        My girls are 25 and almost 22, and as independent as they are, it warms my heart that they still like to include their dad and me in their lives. 🙂 I hope you are as lucky with your brood. 🙂

        Like Luke, each of us must leave home to truly see what we’re made of. 🙂 You have such a good handle on this … I think you’ll be just fine when you have to send each of your children out into the world. 🙂

        MTFBWY 🙂

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