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“You can’t stop the change any more than you can stop the suns from setting.” -Shmi Skywalker

We all know this quote from The Phantom Menace. It comes from the heart of a mother who is sending away her dear son, possibly to never see again, in hopes that he may have a better life. I’m sure Shmi was feeling a menagerie of emotions at that point – sadness, loss, fear, emptiness…but also hope, excitement and a sense of rightness with the universe…more on this in a little bit…

Hello! My name is Jay, and I am so incredibly honored to be part of the Coffee With Kenobi team.  When I initially became aware of the existence of such a wonderful entity, I was re-acquainted with many names and identities of people who have meant a lot to me in my own personal journey of fandom.  A journey that has entailed much change since 2006, when many of us “met” in the Hyperspace blogosphere. It really was a magical time in the family of our fandom, and culminated with such force (no pun intended…) at Celebration IV in 2007.  Since then, I have had the amazing privilege of remaining close to several of those wonderful people. I am now sort of feeling like things are coming full-circle, as I am once again becoming part of something bigger than myself and my own love of Star Wars. The circle is now complete…!

Since this is my first blog installment on CWK, I would like to introduce myself…

For those who don’t know me, I am a wife, married 18 years to my amazing husband who, not only tolerates my intense geek presence, but has encouraged and inspired me to fully embrace it. I have two sons, ages 12 and 14.  Over the years, Star Wars has been a way of life for them.  Each one is starting their own unique journey into their own modes of fandom, but I believe Star Wars will never be far from their hearts.  I am a high school teacher of 21 years, and I have incorporated Star Wars into many of my teachings.  I also love to run. There is a trail near where I live, mainly travelled by Amish buggies and bike riders, to which I am inexplicably drawn like a moth to a flame.  I absolutely crave it at times. My goal is to run a half-marathon one day.  I also love to collect toys.  Mainly vintage, but new ones too.  I am highly excited to go to flea markets, garage sales and second-hand vintage toy stores.  The smell of vintage toys is like perfume to my nose! I am really hoping to go to the Kane County Toy Show this spring outside Chicago. I am also planning to go to the mecca of geekdom this summer – San Diego Comic-Con!

In addition to Star Wars, my other modes of fandom include Marvel (Black Widow is my favorite character), Star Trek  – yes you heard me right! I grew up watching the series EVERY Sunday night…Twilight, The Hunger Games, Once Upon a Time, True Blood, The Inheritance Series (Eragon), Grimm, and my newest love Ender’s Game.  I just adore fantasy and Sci-Fi in general.

The last thing you need to know about me for now is the reason I chose this topic as my first blog: I am going through an intense change in my life right now, so I thought it appropriate.  My husband and I have owned and lived on our farm since 1992.  It began as a dairy operation with show cattle. Two years ago we made the decision to sell the dairy and continue to grain farm. Well, the last two weather years were not kind.  We have made the very difficult decision to sell everything and join the ranks of “normal” people.  Things are about to change drastically.  Our farm goes to auction on March 15, and we will be moving. I have been on a crazy rollercoaster of emotions.

It’s interesting to hear the reactions people have to all of this.  My sister, whom I love dearly, said “Whew! I bet you’re relieved!” Ummm….no….I’m actually heartbroken.  I don’t think most people realize that when you farm, you ARE the farm.  It’s in your blood. In your veins.  It’s part of your very existence.  Just like the Force…

I’ve been thinking a lot about Shmi’s quote in the past few months.  It has actually gotten me through some rough spots, but it also got me thinking about Star Wars even more! In my musings, I have come up with the following question.  Maybe you can all help me with this:

Is the Force controlling all destiny, as Shmi seemed to think, or can the Force be controlled to affect destiny in the bigger picture?

This idea is also somewhat springboarded from Becca’s excellent entry about mind control and Force-users.  How much of it is intended, versus how much is an unintentional by-product of the ability to use the Force?

Let’s look at some of the evidence out there.  Mace, in response to Yoda saying that they were blind to the creation of the clone army said “I think it is time we inform the Senate that our ability to use the Force has diminished.”

Was he referring to the fact that they didn’t sense the creation of the army, or that they weren’t able to stop it?

What about Anakin in TPM…did he win the Boonta Eve due to Force influence? He had never even finished, let alone won a podrace. Could it have been a combined effort of two very strong Force-users (Anakin and Qui-Gon) that influenced the outcome?

In her own way, was Shmi a Force-user? Somewhere I read Anakin thought that his mother believed that simply by being present she could keep him from harm.

Even as Luke is peering out over the landscape of Tatooine at sunset, did he somehow send a Force-influenced message to the galaxy to change his destiny from simple farm-boy to something bigger?

Part of me also thinks that the Jedi and the Sith might have vastly differing approaches on this notion as well – I think the Jedi would see Force-influence of destiny as innocent, unintentional, or simply as we’ve heard time and again: “The will of the Force.” Whereas the Sith would be proud to boast being able to use the Force as a tool to craft their desires. Just as Anakin hauntingly said to Padme in ROTS: “Make things the way we want them to be!” Was he possibly referring to his ability to Force-influence others?

**Slight spoilers to follow if you’re not into the EU**

Since we’re on the subject of Sith, I have always been fascinated with the deeper, darker nature of this side of the Force.

My favorite book series in all of the EU is Darth Bane.  There is so much intensity to Bane’s character and his crafting of the Dark Side of the Force during his era, ultimately leading to the Rule of Two.

As Des, he was unaware of his Force-using ability, yet it seemed to clearly set into motion the events that led him to become one of the most powerful Dark Lords to ever exist.  He had an abusive father who mysteriously died of a massive heart attack.  When playing a fateful game of sabaac with a less-than-forgiving group of beings, Des ended up getting two Idiot’s Arrays in the same hand. An almost statistically impossible thing. This set the stage for him to leave his mining life on Apatros and to eventually become Darth Bane.  Will of the Force, or Force-willed?

In Darth Plagueis, we get to know this Dark Lord as Hego Damask, a very prominent and influential Magister. He held a belief in the Celestials, a group of beings who merged with and guided the balance of the Light and Dark Sides of the Force.  As much as he manipulated those around him for his own wants and needs, he always felt in the back of his mind that these Celestials would tip the balance back a bit if things became too Dark. On the surface, it seems that Plagueis is ruthless, fierce and unruly in his vast array of horrendous acts, but in some ways, the idea that he respected the Celestials so much seemed to have guided the extent to which his machinations were performed. (side note – were these Celestials The Ones from Mortis, or were they simply the existence of Midichlorians in a spiritual embodiment?)

Speaking of Midichlorians, Anakin’s conception has been commonly believed to somehow be the result of Palpatine’s doings, or that Plagueis himself somehow put it in motion. However, in the book, they were both pretty much stunned at the news of this young boy and his Force-ability. Was this the Celestials’ way of trying to undo the Sith’s plans for Darkness and bring balance back to the Force?

There are so many other examples and interpretations I could dive into, but I would like to hear your thoughts on this matter.

Please give me your responses.  I am so excited to hear what everyone has to say! If you would like to contact me directly, or have any ideas you would like me to explore further, you can email me at jayk@coffeewithkenobi.com. You can also follow me on Twitter @JoyceKrebs (Joyce/Jay Krebs).

(A HUGE shout-out to my fellow teacher and partner-in-crime Pat Anderson. She worked her artistic magic and developed my logo for me. Thanks, Pat!)

As always, May the Force Be With You…how you use it is up to you!

~Jay

 

 

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17 Comments

  1. Melinda
    February 18, 2014 at 15:40 Reply

    Welcome to the CWK Family, Jay!!! 😀

    I am tickled that once again I have the opportunity to read your incredible musings about Star Wars. 🙂 I can’t wait to read more!

    You pose a lot of ideas here, and they certainly have gotten the wheels in my brain turning. 😉 🙂 Does the Force control everything? Or can one control the Force, at least somewhat? Intriguing. Makes me think of hearing “Make your own destiny!” growing up. Does one have opportunities presented to oneself? Or can one truly make things happen for oneself? What about all those talented individuals out there who happen to be hampered more than helped?

    What is it that leads us down one path rather than another?

    I have more questions than answers! 😉

    Whenever themes such as those you pose in your blog come up, I am transported back in time … to my sophomore year of college. I would be transferring come my junior year. I had applied to two colleges — one to which I received a near-full scholarship, in my home state, and the other to a well-respected, out-of-state school. Quite honestly, I really wanted to go to the in-state school (for a host of reasons), but there was a “force” driving me to attend the out-of-state school (to which I had no scholarship). I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew “something” was pulling me toward the school I really didn’t want to attend (the out-of-state school).

    I wound up going to that school. You want to know something? I think the real reason was to meet my (now) husband! My first semester there was his last. Midway through the second half of my “first” senior year, we got engaged. Then, I transferred to the university I originally wanted to go to — but turned my back on — to finish out my college education.

    I am a strong proponent of forging one’s own destiny. But there are times when there are forces beyond our comprehension at play, leading us one way or another.

    Is it our minds playing tricks on us?

    Always in motion the Force is. 😉 (to put a slight spin on Yoda’s line)

  2. Melinda
    February 18, 2014 at 15:55 Reply

    I wish you and your family good wishes as you begin the next chapter in your lives. 🙂 What an exciting adventure! It may be a bit unnerving at times … scary, even … but knowing you, I am sure everything will work out just fine. 🙂

    Do you mind if I comment about your sister’s response to the news of the change in your lives? I think this is a clear example of Yoda’s intent to contemplate what he said before he said it. Too often individuals will blurt out the first thing that comes to mind … without any thought to the person on the receiving end. We see life from our own points of view, and respond likewise. A great deal of grief, hard feelings, hurt feelings can be avoided by the simple act of thinking before speaking. I am not saying you experienced this when your sister uttered what she did. I’m just using her as an example, and expanding on it, tying it to Yoda’s way of responding to Luke, Anakin, etc.

    Change is on the horizon. Always. 🙂 Will you snap like the brittle branch … or bend like the shapely limbs of the willow? I will go out on a limb, and declare the latter. 🙂 You know, Jay, you have lived the life very few of us get to, many of us would like to, many of us romanticize. 🙂 Safeguard that which was in your heart with your eyes to the future, and the Force will take you in the direction you and your family are meant to go. 🙂

    MTFBWY 🙂

  3. Jay Krebs
    February 18, 2014 at 20:18 Reply

    Thank you so much, Melinda! It seriously is wonderful being back among fellow fans who truly love…and LIVE Star Wars!

    Your story about college and feeling as though it worked out the way it did (to meet your wonderful hubby!) is another example to me of how sometimes fate (or Force) knows better than we what we NEED instead of what we WANT, at least as it seems at that moment. It’s certainly as we’ve heard before: Let go and let the Force guide you.

    It also makes me wonder how much we SHOULD try to control our own destiny. I’m reminded of the phrase: “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.” Was Anakin truly happy in his first years as a Padawan, missing his mother so much, even though he wished and dreamed of leaving his first home?

    You’re so right in your observations about my sister. She definitely meant well; meant it as a way of showing support and encouragement, as she has always done my whole life. In many ways she has been my Obi-Wan!

    I certainly hope I will bend and adapt… rather, I know I will, it will just take some time to do so. There are certainly some exciting things about this change as well!

    You’re SO right about how fortunate I have been to lead the farming life. Trust me – I consider myself and my family to be amazingly blessed wit the years and memories we’ve had here. It’s time to turn the page and see what the Force has in store for us!

  4. Becca Benjamin
    February 18, 2014 at 20:55 Reply

    ❤️Jay❤️
    My cup runneth over! ❤️

    “Seeing you, brings warm feelings to my heart.”
    Welcome to the CWK community/family!
    Your logo is positively awesome and this blog is funtastic

  5. Becca Benjamin
    February 18, 2014 at 20:57 Reply

    So much to ponder, love it!
    As soon as I’m home, I promise to give it my ” undivided attention.” Can’t wait to dive in

  6. Erica
    February 18, 2014 at 23:21 Reply

    Great entry, Jay! I think that your question pretty much sums up one of the major differences between jedi and sith. Jedi are more likely to go with the flow of the force, and things work out better for them when they do. For example, Ben Kenobi didn’t go pick up Luke from the farm and say, “Ok, son, time for me to tell you about your father and get you off this rock so we can save the universe.” He waited until the force nudged Luke in his direction. Also, Anakin’s slide to the darkside really accelerated when he tried to control the future, a quintessentially sith thing to do.

    Good luck with all of the change in your life ((hugs))

  7. Becca
    February 19, 2014 at 01:07 Reply

    Ok, I’m back and ready to “chew the fat” with ya 😉

    So let’s see, is the Force controlling our destiny, or is the Force being “controlled?” Interesting and yet, a bit disturbing too.

    If a force user, whether he/she be Jedi or Sith, could indeed “control” the force at their will or for their own sole advantage(s), would that mean that they’d have embodied the virtual Force? Becoming the force, bending it for all it binds/surrounds? What would that mean for all other life forms? Depending on it’s user (Light/Dark), would it rein havoc or fulfill dreams/wishes?

    Sorry, I seem to have more questions than answers lol!

    Well, based on the movies alone, it stands true that an actual “user” could indeed, to some extent or form, “control” or “wield” the Force to their own personal advantages. We see this with, Darth Sidious. He manipulated an entire Senate etc. and got exactly what he wanted; Unlimited Power 😉 Although, his triumph wasn’t completed overnight, he still attained his goal by “controlling” the Force and persistent patience.

    Ok, so is it obviously apparent that I find the Dark side a tad more appealing than the light side? :O

    Now, getting to what you said about young, Anakin in TPM:
    “Could it have been a combined effort of two very strong Force-users (Anakin and Qui-Gon) that influenced the outcome?”
    First off, love it 😉 and I agree, I do, whole heartedly believe that he “willed” the force to do as he wished. Mainly because, at that given time in his life, he had No Idea what the Force was or even meant. He just knew that there were times he could, “make things happen.” That he had a special ability, that no one else (that he was aware of)had.

    Wow, I’m so happy that you’re blogging again! This is so Funtastic 🙂
    You’ve given me so much to think about, and “think” is exactly what I intend to do.

    Great blog and awesome read, my dear friend.

    I wish you all the best that this galaxy has to offer, especially now, on your quest to new beginnings. “You have taken your first step into a larger world.” -Obi-wan

    1. Jay Krebs
      February 20, 2014 at 01:29 Reply

      Ahhhh….. seeing you all again is definitely bringing warm feelings to my heart! As Yoda said: ” always in motion, the future is. ..” I will respond to all of your wonderful replies very soon, I promise. … Today has been one of exhausting packing and no time to give full attention to you all. Be mindful of the future, my friends! 🙂

  8. pambruchwalski
    February 20, 2014 at 02:52 Reply

    Wow. Such an awesome blog entry. Not surprising.

    I have been a fan of the eSpression, “Everything happens for a reason,” for a very long time. It’s short, sweet, to the point, and its very Force-like premise allows fans of the GFFA to sit back, play Jedi, and let the Force do its work. But in Star Wars as in life, can it really be that easy? Perhaps my favorite phrase is simply an example of my being lazy, of my wanting things to happen for me rather than my wanting to make them happen. Maybe Shmi, thinking like I do, was lazy, too. Random Jedi comes along and wants to steal away with my boy forever? Sure! Take ‘im! Everything happens for a reason, right? Maybe the Jedi were lazy, too. Senate’s being run by a dude who continually craves more power? Awesome. Must be a reason. Grant him more executive power, I say!

    You get the point. This is how liberty dies…

    Or maybe it’s how we achieve balance in the Force.

    Maybe life is more about balance and not as much about which way works best, the will of the Force or willing the Force. Things happen and there are reasons and then we DO something about them. You have taken a journey with your farm, things have happened to cause you to sell it, and now you are choosing the direction you’re taking next. Everything happened for a reason, and now you’re making everything happen. The common denominator is you. You, my dear friend. You GO, girl!

    The change was coming. You couldn’t stop it. And now you’re choosing what to do about it. You’ve taken ownership of the change. Maybe Shmi should have, too. She couldn’t stop the change, but she damned well could have moderated it if she really wanted to. Hey random Jedi dude! You can train my boy, but *I* am his mother, and THIS is how it’s going to happen… Talk about a Star Wars chick superhero?! How about a Star Wars MOM superhero, one who didn’t succumb to a broken heart and check out before she could help her babies be the Jedi they were meant to be. Super Shmi!

    But I digress. And as an admitted non-devoted-EU-fan, this might have been done somewhere, and I just missed it.

    This may not make one shred of sense. It’s been ages since I’ve talked Star Wars in a public space like this.

    Thanks for giving me an outlet with this blog entry. 🙂

    always…amidalooine

  9. Melinda
    February 20, 2014 at 13:38 Reply

    If I could control anything, right about now I’d like to control the weather! Another day of horrid conditions — rain, sleet and snow mixing together! What a sight to look out the window, and see the precipitation switch from one to the other, and then back again!

    😉

    It really is a lot of fun to come back to read these blogs again, and see what responses others have left. 🙂 Great musings! 🙂

  10. Melinda
    February 20, 2014 at 13:53 Reply

    Erica, how right you are (about Obi-Wan and Luke)! 🙂 Of course, the “meeting” in the canyon was not their first experience of being thrown together (Luke alludes to it in his “identification” of Ben). There had been other instances when Ben stepped in at an opportune moment to help Luke (drawing on EU material). But that’s neither here nor there. The Jedi had a much more positive relationship with the Force (in my opinion), and as such, were able to work with it more easily. 🙂

  11. Melinda
    February 20, 2014 at 14:13 Reply

    Becca, it’s so nice to find someone else who (at least sometimes) has more questions than answers. 😉 We can row the boat together. 😉

    The question at hand — is the Force controlling one’s destiny or is the individual controlling the Force? — continues to ruminate in the recesses of my mind. Drawing on Jay’s example (Anakin in the podrace), does Anakin — who had no idea how to control his abilities — affect his outcome? He certainly did not sense Sebulba’s intent to influence the outcome of the Boonta Eve race (nor did Qui-Gon for that matter 😉 ). And when Anakin’s podracer’s engines failed, the young slave worked through a series of mechanical fixes to get his machine running again. No Force at work here.

    Then, there were those instances when Jedi would “influence” outcomes … Qui-Gon “helping” the chance cube to “choose” Anakin to be the slave freed when it became obvious the noble Jedi would not be able to help both mother and son. 😉 Was that Qui-Gon’s only “helpful” maneuver where the race was concerned … thus letting the chips fall where they may (the outcome)? Or was his keen interest as he watched the racers speed around the track precipitated by his intent to “facilitate” Anakin’s victory?

    Fascinating, indeed! 🙂

  12. Melinda
    February 20, 2014 at 14:41 Reply

    PB, I like the way your brain works! 🙂 And what a turn of a phrase … or two or three! 🙂

    Balance. Yes, balance. The issue for so many individuals is to know how to find balance, and how to employ it. How many times have you heard someone say, in response to a question like “How did you find yourself in such a wonderful, remarkable place (usually job-related)?”, “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time!”? The Force at work? 😉 One of the pieces of advice my incredible father gave me was: “You have to go after what you want. No one is going to know who Melinda is. No one is going to come knocking on your door to give you anything. You have to make things happen for yourself.” Make your own destiny. There is a great deal of truth in that.

    Maybe the balance is getting your name out there so others will recognize it — and, hopefully, the work you do — and once established, you have a better chance of jobs/situations “falling in your lap”. 😉

    Regarding Shmi relinquishing her son to Qui-Gon Jinn and the Jedi …

    I truly believe Shmi knew Anakin was destined for something different than a slave’s life (not to mention the fact that, as a parent, I would imagine SHE wanted something different, better for him!) — if for no other reason than because of the way he was conceived. She didn’t want him to go, but she knew he had to. She trusted Qui-Gon (and the Jedi) to look after her young son. Tatooine may have been a lawless (to a certain extent) planet, but the residents — even slaves — knew about the Jedi. That is why she was willing to cede her son to the Jedi Master. Too, she did not find herself in a place where she could offer any real influence. Land-locked on Tatooine, Anakin would be jetting off to a life in which she could play no role. Letting go is one of a parent’s toughest jobs to accomplish. I think Shmi tried to make it as easy on Anakin as she possibly could. 🙂

  13. Melinda
    February 20, 2014 at 14:45 Reply

    Jay, I hope you don’t mind all my responses to visitors’ comments. This is your blog after all. 😉 Becca started the machinations last month, and you have spun off from there, expanding the topic. It really has caused me to give this topic a great deal of thought. And it’s so germane to what you’re experiencing right now. I haven’t meant to monopolize the discussion. It’s just so intriguing to delve into it! 🙂 Thank you!!! 😀

  14. Jay Krebs
    February 20, 2014 at 16:31 Reply

    GREAT discussion here, everyone! It’s wonderful to see that this has sparked some intersting conversation, great interpretations, and has even brought two more of our longtime friends back into the fold! Welcome, Erica and Pam! 😀

    Melinda, of course I don’t mind your comments – that’s what this whole medium was MEANT to encourage, and I love every bit of insight you offer.

    Let me go back and comment on a few of the points made here…

    Erica – the way the Jedi vs the Sith fundamentally view the Force is such a great thing to point out, and so very true. The first line of the Jedi code reads “There is no emotion, there is peace.” This alludes to the idea that we cannot affect what will be, it is controlled by the Force. So, don’t fret about it, just accept it.

    On the other hand – look at the Sith code:

    “Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.”

    …it’s dripping with the evidence that the Sith USE the Force to propel their means, not TRUST it to allow things to happen.

  15. Jay Krebs
    February 20, 2014 at 16:46 Reply

    Becca, questions are good! One of my favorite quotes, which I use in my classroom is:

    “Truth is elusive, and questions are more useful than answers.” Vergere said it to Jacen in Traitor, by Matt Stover!

    It’s interesting to muse about why things happen the way they do, and to what extent do we actually control the outcomes? Much of it, I believe is our point-of-view. We can make ourselves believe anything, really, given the right circumstances. That belief can either propel us in a certain direction or repel us away from others. Are some things completely out of our control, no matter what?

    As you know, I’m very much into psychology. In stress-related studies, there is the idea of one’s “locus of control,” which is pretty much what I was eluding to above: “Externals” feel as though their destiny is out of their hands – fate, luck, faith…whereas “Internals” view their destiny as being controlled by every step they take: “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” so-to-speak.

    If we use this example, Jedi are clearly “Externals” and Sith are most certainly “Internals”.

    Just as Melinda said, though, there were certainly times Jedi “influenced” the Force as well. This example wouldn’t hold true to what I just said. I still support the idea of “gray Jedi,” as in my discussion above. Aren’t we all a bit “gray?” I know I am for sure – I do believe there are things I can control beyond a shadow of any doubt in my mind, but then I worry – sometimes incessantly – about things that I believe are out of my control.

  16. Jay Krebs
    February 20, 2014 at 16:59 Reply

    This brings me to the idea Pam brought up – Balance. Ahhh….balance! I also believe things happen for a reason…believe it almost to a fault sometimes. The only reason I say that is because I’m constantly wondering after-the-fact if there was anything I could’ve done to keep something from happening, or to make something happen that didn’t. There’s always sort of a snowball-effect playing in my mind. I guess I’m more Sith in my thinking – I want to control everything!

    You’re absolutely right about “moderating” change. I never really thought about it that way before! Can we stop certain things from happening? No. Can we decide how we’re going to handle it? Yes. It’s very empowering to think of it that way! Wonderful eSpressions, Ms. Amidalooine!

    Balance. It does a body good. Maybe I’ll have a Force mustache now… 😉

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