You know where, in The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda encourages Luke: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”? A lot of Star Wars fans take exception to Yoda’s lesson. They think that Yoda is wrong in making such a statement to Luke, our fledgling Jedi-in-Training. These fans criticize Yoda because they believe he is not validating the significance of the ol’ college try. They argue that trying counts for a lot. I can see their reasoning.
I am a firm believer in trying. After all, without taking that all important step to at least give something a try, one never would reach a goal, never would accomplish anything, never would emerge successful at whatever challenge one decided to place before oneself. [By the way, I don’t think success means “rich and famous”. Success is measured on a long, varied scale. A toddler taking her first step is successful! Anyone who has ever broken a bone, and can use that leg, arm, hand for the first time – without the aid of a crutch (of any sort) – has gained success. I could go on but I’ll leave it at that. 😉 ] As George Lucas [or whoever came up with the trailer for The Phantom Menace] put it to fans awaiting the premier of Episode I: “… Every journey has a first step …” Whether stated outright or intrinsically connected, that first step always is tied to one trying. I get why Yoda’s assertion hits a sour note with many fans.
But anyone who has pushed her/himself beyond her/his limits to reach that thought-to-be illusive goal knows that trying is not always enough. There are those times when one must go beyond trying, dig down deep inside oneself, and pull out that extra ounce of energy to accomplish what some might call “the impossible”. That is what Yoda was trying to get across to his young protégé. The road to becoming a Jedi was, is not an easy one. It is wrought with all sorts of curves, dangers, pitfalls, and if Luke was to become the best that he could be, he would need to overcome the weakest, worst side of himself. I honestly do not think that Yoda was admonishing Luke. For those who have gone through the arduous training to serve in one of the branches of our U.S. military, for those who have eked out that last iota of energy to push her/himself across the finish line, for those who have pumped that extra pound of iron over his/her head, defying gravity, they know what Yoda [or their coach] was doing when uttering those eight simple words. Mind over matter. Believe in yourself. Make the impossible possible!
That came into play for me this weekend.
I am of an age where I no longer find it appealing [to say the least 😉 ] to stand in line for hours on end for the chance to procure some special, rather rare item. I don’t even like standing in line for hours on end for entry to some special event [about one hour is my max]. I’ve been there, done that in years past. I suppose I have reached the age where it really isn’t important for me to be the first person to purchase a ticket, to have every single action figure in a line [although, if we’re talking Luke Skywalker, that might – might – be a different matter 😉 ], to round out a collection with every single *whatever*. A little of this, a little of that is good enough for me.
And then came this year’s July run of the Hallmark Star Wars ornaments. 😉 Before I go any further, please allow me to point out that I love Christmas. I mean L-O-V-E that time of year. My favorite part is finding [what I hope will be] that perfect gift for the family members and friends for whom I shop [or make something]. My second favorite part of the holiday season is decorating the house [inside and out]. 🙂 Right after Thanksgiving, I haul boxes and boxes of decorations out of our garage rafters, begin the labor of love of unwrapping each item, and find the perfect spot to showcase each object. No room is spared holiday décor. Now you know from where I am coming… So, here it is July, and because one never can start planning too soon for the holidays, I prepared to go to our local Hallmark store to pick up the year’s assortment of Star Wars ornaments. Yes, I have a Star Wars tree that I erect in our Star Wars Room [everyone has one, right? 😉 ] every Christmas season. I even went so far as to provide my list to our local shopkeeper – a few months ago – so my order could be pre-packed. All I’d have to do is show up at the store [this year, any time after July 15] to pay for my ornaments, and be off. How easy is that! 🙂
Last week, when one of the clerks called me to remind me the first wave of ornaments would be ready this weekend, she mentioned a couple of limited edition Star Wars ornaments would be available, that in order to get either/both, shoppers would have to be among the very first customers. Each store would receive only a handful – if that – of each. One of the limited edition ornaments was a mystery – even to the staff. Everyone – and I mean everyone – in the shop knows of my affinity for Star Wars, and knows I have a Star Wars tree that is getting fuller and fuller with each passing year. Wouldn’t I like a chance at these ornaments? It was like a carrot was dangled in front of me, like the hare racing ’round the track! 😉
If I was going to have a chance at these ornaments, I would have to give up precious sleeping time on the weekend [something I rarely like to do] to get to the store well before it opened. That would mean getting up even earlier to shower and dress [something I like to do each morning 😉 ]. Would it be worth it to trade precious sleep for an ornament or two … even knowing they were Star Wars ornaments? Last year, I missed out on the limited edition Zeb ornament [from Star Wars Rebels], which would have been a nice addition to my Star Wars tree. Oh, the quandary!
In the end, I thought about Yoda’s encouragement to Luke. Sure, the opportunity to add another ornament or two to my holiday tree was not quite the same as spurring a Jedi-In-Training to be all that he could be, but at its base I had to push myself to do something that, under most circumstances, I would not have done. I pulled myself out of bed, rousing myself from sweet dreams, and made my way to our local Hallmark shop. Who needs sleep – when Star Wars and Christmas are involved – right? 😉 You know what? By the time I exited the shop, I knew it was well worth losing a little sleep. Not only was I able to purchase the July wave of Star Wars ornaments, I also was able to procure those limited edition ornaments. I can’t wait to give each of them a prominent place on the tree come December! 🙂
It’s true. Sometimes you need that extra push to accomplish something special or extra important. For just those instances, I like to keep Yoda-isms in my head to give me that little extra shove when I need it. They come in pretty handy. 🙂
Until next time,
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