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Force and Faith:  Returning to the Jedi Temple of our Heart

Force and Faith: Returning to the Jedi Temple of our Heart

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This post contains a spoiler for Marvel’s Star Wars: Darth Vader #2.

We gather together quite often to play in the Star Wars sandbox because it is familiar and comfortable to many of us. With the changing tides and seasons of our lives, there is a constant in these stories we love so much. Even though new stories are created and fresh characters come along, there is something that is always the same and familiar. We return again and again as younglings enthralled by the stories of those who have travelled the stars weaving their glorious tales.

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Travelling as Refugees

Or perhaps it just occupies a constant presence in our lives. If you are reading this, you know what I mean. If you are not reading this, speak up now. Our lives are full of change: family and friends come and go. We leave our homes to begin our own lifelong journeys of discovery. And from time to time, we yearn to return to the place of our home, if there is one. And we find that either the home has changed or we have upon our return.

This is very much my story, as well. Since the last time I had the opportunity to post, my life has seen several changes. The season of Great Lent finished up with an amazing Easter feast, (which brings me great joy followed by a mild depression from withdrawal) and then my family had to find a new rental house. How about that for a pair of opposing emotions? Well, we weathered the stress, but it got me to thinking about the importance of place in my life. Many things have changed in my life, and many others have been by my side the whole time. And I got to thinking about my hometown. This was tough, because I don’t really have one. As a child we moved around quite a bit. In my teens, we lived with my grandparents in the home they had always lived in. That was a special and comfortable place, full of Sunday dinners and other amazing memories. I tell people that I am from that small town of East Lansdowne, but not too many people there would know who I am. So I am a wanderer, sent from town to town by my bishop to do the work he has set for me to do.

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The Flight to Egypt – A family together, yet without a place to call home.

Obviously, we have to go to Anakin’s story here. A little boy, conceived in some mystical way, who was born to a desolate sandy existence. He found comfort, even in servitude, in the arms of his loving mother. He had friends and pursued his hobbies, even if living in otherwise terrible conditions. He had a dream to go visit the stars and see the many beings of the galaxy. Given the opportunity, he left his home to become a Jedi. He left the warm embrace of the known life for the unknown regions of the universe and self exploration.

A few years later, he returned home to visit his ancestral lands. What he found was heartbreak because the world he knew no longer existed. While he was gone and growing, Tatooine was also traveling down a different path. Shmi had lived in a hovel on a particular street, but was no longer there. Suddenly, the surety of his life was taken away. His beloved mother is tracked down, but is a prisoner of the Sand People. Though he was present with her at her passing, it was a sign that he could not return home to the same place he had left. But her love, the love of a mother, never waned, never changed, and never left Anakin while she was alive.

That planet, that place in his life, was not home in and of itself. Home was with the one who loved him and cared for him. It is no wonder that when he was traveling through space for the first time that he did not feel quite right. As a young boy, he had to face the fact that his home was going to change, he was going to change separately from it, and there would be no way to combine the two again.

Padmé and Anakin AOTC photo padm-anakin-naboo.jpgWhile visiting Varykino, the lush lake retreat on Naboo, Anakin and Padme have this to say:

Padme: We used to come here for school retreat. We would swim to that island every day. I love the water. We used to lie out on the sand and let the sun dry us and try to guess the names of the birds singing.

Anakin: I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth.Vader and the Binary SunsetIn the pretty well done comic Star Wars: Darth Vader #2, to convince himself that he has transformed into a Dark Lord, Anakin returned to Tatooine. Tortured by the scars of the memories of his past life, what he disregarded, his rage and anger are used to separate him from his once beloved home. His irritation at visiting a place that he no longer recognized turned to a rage that led him to massacre a village of the Sand People. To no satisfaction. His anger and desecration could not recover the feelings of his youth. What a tragic anti-hero.Vader and the Sand PeopleNow, positively for us, home is the Jedi Temple of our hearts. It may not have a physical location, but it is populated by the venerable ones who have gone before us. It is the place where our ancestors, brothers and sisters from all time form the congregation of the triumphant. In the real world, this is the temple that we carry with us throughout all of our wanderings. Our heart’s true home is with the One who created the heart. The heart, the center of our being, can be the place where we find peace. It is so much more than an organ a seat of emotions.  The heart is the part that truly, deeply, knows how to love and to be loved in return.  So often we look outside of ourselves for prosperity – another novel, another promotion, another dollar – and we find that the gathering of things leads to decay. At the same time, searching for our heart’s true home offers the fullness of life.  In this life, we may be refugees from particular locations.  It is during that wandering that we find that our true joy is living out our lives knowing that we carry within us the capacity for good, love, and the eternal memories of those who are dear to us.

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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 at jamesw@CoffeeWithKenobi.com, occasionally at TheForceandFaith.blogspot.com as long as I am not listening to the latest edition of the Coffee With Kenobi podcast!

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4 Comments

  1. Amity
    May 22, 2015 at 08:28 Reply

    This is a good reminder for all of us. Thank you. I will share this post with my seniors who are graduating from high school and moving away.

  2. James Worthington
    May 28, 2015 at 11:41 Reply

    My parish is in a university town, and I know how wonderful and frustrating it can be with students coming and going. But there is so much more value in seeing them grow and achieve the potential laid out for them. Hopefully they take with them the care that we have offered for the little time we were together and multiply it wherever they go. And it works that way for everyone. Wherever we go, it is an opportunity to bare our lives in all of their ascending beauty.

  3. Melinda
    June 11, 2015 at 09:15 Reply

    “…we find that either the home has changed or we have upon our return.” — so, so true, James. ‘They’ say one never can go back. Well, one CAN (if circumstances permit) — in a physical sense. But to recapture the past? Can’t be done. Every day we live changes us — and sometimes the place — too much. Last fall, I returned to the first house Tom and I bought, and it looked so different! I could recall the memories of our years there, but even those seemed a bit skewed because the house and its outside environs looked so different. I can well imagine what the original owners of the house where we now live would say should they ever venture back here. The structural frame of the house is the same, but they wouldn’t know “their house” at all. We’ve made so many exterior and interior changes that they probably would be shocked. 😉

    more…

  4. Melinda
    June 11, 2015 at 09:36 Reply

    What a beautiful essay, James. I always enjoy stopping by to read what you have to share. (It may take me a while, but I get here eventually. 😉 ) It is fascinating how we attach the feeling of belonging to a place — but, like you say (if I interpret your musings correctly), the PLACE really is not what calls to us, it is the person(s) who were important to us there.

    Soon, I will be visiting my oldest daughter who lives in California. Whenever we talk about “home” as it pertains to her, we qualify her homes — “California home” and “Wisconsin home”. I’ve never really asked her which she considers HOME now (if that makes any sense lol). She’s 26 now, has been living on her own for a few years, and while I know her heart still considers the place where she grew up as home (figuratively speaking), I really don’t know if she considers this her REAL home any longer (I don’t expect her ever to return to WI, so can this truly be considered “home” any longer?). Because of her chosen career field — and the fact she loves the weather! — she certainly is no temporary resident of CA. Thus, should I make distinctions between the two any longer? 😉

    And Anakin! That poor boy had the rug pulled out from beneath him when he returned to Tatooine. Yes, much had changed, but it was the peril in which he found his mother that affected his feelings about the place. Isn’t it interesting how events will affect our interpretations/states of mind about a place … when the place itself holds little or no real significance?

    I hope you and your family will be very happy in your new home! 🙂

    MTFBWY 🙂

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