Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Don't get hung up on meaningless distinctions"

Hey, I know it's been a while, but honestly, you should just be happy that I am even writing this at all. I told you before how horrible I am at writing these kinds of things and following them through. Anyway, my break has been really good and I am kind of sad to see it go, but I know that I will find many other happy moments in the future to come-so I'm not too sad. I hope you all have enjoyed the break as well, some more than others I can suspect.

So as you guys know, I am a pretty big Star Wars fan (and no, it is not my only geek outlet-I have far more) and so this holiday I set the goal to finish the series, The New Jedi Order (partly because my friend Trey(hey, Trey) really wanted me to read further in the series and be able to have conversations with him about this stuff, but also because I have been reading this series for like 6 years or something like....don't judge). Anyway, I will not be able to finish the series because I have 5 books left in the series, but access to the next 2 only. This frustrates me, but alas, there's not much that can be done about it-so I move on.

Well, in these books there is a character named Jacen Solo who has recently suffered the loss of his younger brother, as well as the separation from the rest of his family and friends. To top it off, his galaxy is being invaded by a race of aliens who seek to destroy all the Jedi (of whom he is one) and to change the galaxy to suit their needs.

So he is actually captured by these aliens and placed in a thing called 'The Embrace of Pain'; you can probably guess what it did, but just in case-it basically caused whoever was 'in it' to experience an unbelievable amount of pain, but never to the point of death. And rather than go on to explain it further, I will just say this: he had to learn how to deal with pain and grief.

Now I can't say for sure because, as I said, I have not finished the series, however, I feel that Jacen did not adequately deal with those issues. In fact, I know that he didn't. Pain is there for a reason-to teach you, or stop you from making the same mistake. But Jacen 'learns' to ignore the pain and not let it affect him.

As was made even more clear to me today through a friend, pain/hurt/grief is a very real thing for us as humans, perhaps one of the things that distinguishes us as such. So to completely ignore it and to disregard emotions and feelings is to lose, at the very least, a piece of your humanity. And for Jacen, this will more than likely prove to be far more devastating than for those of us who are not force-sensitive (no matter how much we may wish we were.........)-it will probably lead to the dark side, he may even become more dangerous than his grandfather.

But there is one aspect of the book I was reading (it is "Traitor" in the New Jedi Order by Matthew Stover, in case you were curious) that really caught my attention. There is one point in which Jacen is having a conversation with his dead brother, Anakin (through the force, similar to how Obi-Wan spoke with Luke after he died). Well two times prior to this, Jacen had thought he had heard his brother but it was only a trick used by someone else, saying that the person had used the force to fake his voice. But Anakin says to him, "how do you know? are you sure it was a fake? she was using the force right? how do you know the force wasn't using her?" I couldn't help but feel a connection to God through that exchange. It may seem heretical, but I think sometimes God acts in that way-from our perspective, we think something terrible has happened to us and we feel self-pity and cry out to God, saying 'save me from this terrible thing'. What if that terrible thing is in our lives for a reason; what if God used a great pain in our lives to lead us down a different path? I don't know, it is hard to think of God as someone who would cause pain or suffering, even for the greater good, but I can't help but speculate that that may be part of it. That perhaps in some way the pain/grief that we deal with is just as important to God as the joy that we experience. As one of my friends said, (paraphrased) 'sometimes we just want to wallow in our own self-pity'. But the thing is, no matter how you see it, we can't stay in the pain-we have to get out of it. But we can't forget it; we need to forgive, but never forget-same with pain, we need to move on, but always remember the lesson it taught us.

'Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.' -Psalm 23:4

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