Being Yoda

Image by Felix Hu from Pixabay

“Baby Yoda!  Bady Yoda! Floating in a pod, Baby Yoda!” Repeat.  Repeat. Forever. We haven’t had this much excitement about a song since Baby Shark.  When the break started I was a drill sergeant insisting on chores, scripture reading, personal prayers, and exercise before they were allowed to have any screen time which was strictly limited and policed.  By the last week we had binge watched the entire season of The Mandalorian, along with the entire Star Wars prequels and sequels.  We also gorged on YouTube videos of “Star Wars Theory” which explains every possible Star Wars question you ever had including why different Jedi have different colored lightsabers and how Annakin was conceived by the force.  We finished off with a night at the theater to see the final episode nine, The Rise of Skywalker on the last day of the break.  If I started out the break as Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian, I have definitely become Master Yoda from Return of the Jedi now that it’s over.  “When nine-hundred years old you become, look as good you will not.”

Having the brothers around all day definitely made Austin’s life more exciting.  He was tickled and teased and scolded and snuggled every day. It has been fun to see how strong the bond is between him and Devin.  Layne has also become quite close to his little mini-me. Still, Austin didn’t seem to miss them much yesterday though, as he had the Nintendo Switch all to himself.  His favorite game is Zelda Breath of the Wild which is also my favorite game. We may or may not have played the game all day. I plead the fifth.  

Today he is back at preschool after a full month long break.  And I survived! The depression was screaming at me this morning.  “You were late! You were late! You stayed in bed too long!” And I shouted back at the depression, “I did it!  I survived winter break.” I even requested an application for substitute teaching at Little Hearts.  

This year, I am going to bring it.  I am going to do some incredible things.  I already have! I’ve made some really beautiful art.  My counselor says its some of the best she has seen me do.  My life is on track and I am taking my power. Depression speaks, but I choose not listen to that voice.  I am a powerful, talented, compassionate, strong woman and this year I am going to be who my Savior needs.  I will make him proud.

Rey has been an inspiring character for me. I admit, I didn’t like her at first. I felt like Star Wars and Disney were trying to make the series more female friendly. That’s not a bad thing. I’m all for making Hollywood less white and male, but with Rey it just seemed like they were trying too hard. I thought she was too androgenous to be realistic. I just wasn’t excited about Rey and neither were my boys. They had loved Annakin and Obiwan when the prequels came out, but Rey just didn’t inspire the same excitement. The first two movies were good and I got used to her. By the last movie, I think she is one of the best written female characters I have ever come across. I absolutely love her. She epitomizes the strengths that women need to possess to fight the very real battles in today’s world. We need to bring every ounce of compassion, every sliver of healing energy, every smidgen of courage and tenacity that we can muster. If the world is to be saved, women will be the instrument the Savior will use to save it.

****spoiler alert for the new movie!****

There are some very core themes that Star Wars explores about femininity with the characters of Leia and Rey. We tend to be drawn to men who don’t deserve us or understand us; We have an innate desire to heal men of their pain and bring out their better nature; and finally we have a miraculous power to inspire the men we are able to reach.  Han Solo, the cynical mercenary, became a hero of the resistance; a living legend. Why? Because Leia shamed him into seeing who he was and that he was living beneath his potential. Han Solo wanted Leia to love him, but she refused to give him her heart until he earned it by becoming the man she deserved.  

Similarly, Kylo Ren yearned for the companionship of Rey.  He envisioned them together on the dark side. He used every tool he possessed to bring her down to his level.  She saw the power and resources of Kylo Ren and refused to be seduced by them. She prefered Ben Solo, the discarded alter ego she could sense behind the mask of Kylo Ren.  She, like Luke, could sense that Ben Solo was still alive and capable of throwing off the hideous darkness he had allowed to fester within his soul that had transformed him into the monster he had become.

Rey and Leia combine their love for Ben Solo and their hatred for the travesty of Kylo Ren to bring about the redemption of his character.  Kylo Ren is literally killed by Rey with help from Leia. As he lay dying, Rey, sensing Leia’s passing, and horrified at what she had done, kneels beside her nemesis and heals him.  At last, with Kylo Ren’s defeat and death, Ben Solo has the strength to throw off the darkness and take his role as a key member of the resistance; helping to destroy the emperor. He earns the love of Rey at last.  Rey and Leia save their family and heal the galaxy with their love, patience, humility, courage, and tenacity.

One of the innate tendencies of women is to follow when we should lead, to stay silent when we should speak out, and to go along to get along rather than rock the boat.  I’ve seen time and time again in my own life when things have gone badly wrong because a woman submitted to her husband, or her boyfriend, or her father. There is a lot I am still learning about the eternal nature of male and female, but one thing I have become certain about.  The submission of women is wrong; at least the way I have seen it play out. I have found as I have become more vocal and more assertive I have had to fight against the tendency to submit; to discount my instincts, to set aside my concerns, and to subdue my nature. That isn’t what my Savior wants me to do right now.  The societal trends are too toxic. We must not be silent or submissive when there is so much at stake. Our unique gifts as women are vital right now.

I didn’t expect spiritual impressions watching Star Wars at the movie theater, but I got them.  One impression I had was that the coming years would require me to give more and better than I have in the past.  There is a time of testing that is coming that will demand everything that I have in the way of talents and gifts both temporal and spiritual.  I thought of the words of President Nelson’s recent Facebook post welcoming in the New Year. He closed the post with the ominous words, “The time to act is now. This is a hinge point in the history of the Church, and your part is vital.”  I felt like those fighters in Poe’s fleet, standing up to forces that are impossibly powerful and depending on good people to step up to a fight they could never win; to be inspired to set their fear aside and do what is right even though it is so hard. I feel so small and inadequate.  What difference can I possibly make in a world so determined to decline? I’m nothing but a woman. A stay-at-home mom who has no power or consequence.  

And yet in the movie, they did it.  There were enough good people who were strong enough together, and it was enough.  I will do it and it will be enough. Somehow, we will stand and endure and overcome.  Help will come in unexpected ways and from unexpected places. The Lord will have a pure people and we will be tested and tried to see if we will seek him and put him first.  

I’m grateful for President Nelson’s leadership right now.  I’m grateful for a Savior who answered the prayer of a child in New York two hundred years ago.  I’m grateful for a Savior who continues to hear and answer the prayers of all those who diligently seek him.  He lives! He is Mighty to Save! He has a plan for these last times and it will be glorious to behold.  

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