When the first (now known as Episode 4: A New Hope) Star Wars movie came out I was just a child.
My cares were eat, sleep and play, in no particular order. Star Wars provided fertile ground for the active imagination of a young boy into science and space and with an overdeveloped sense of right and wrong.
I was not one of those kids that had every action figure. I did not have the sheet set. If there were costumes, I didn’t have any of those either. I did have Han Solo’s blaster and with a set of batteries, that baby screeched out a series of “pew, pew, pews,” almost as real as what they had in the movies.
Really, in many ways, I’ve grown up with Star Wars. With the prequels coming out so long after the original trilogy and then the final three movies concluding in the past couple of years, it seems like there has been some part of Star Wars scattered throughout my short time on this planet.
And like so many things in life, Star Wars has gotten better with time. Sure the technology which allows the amazing special effects has progressed, but I think what has changed the most is me.
Take the main characters from that original movie. My favorite by far was Luke Skywalker. Whiny? Yes. Spoiled? Indeed. Awkward and a bit goofy? Again, I do not deny it. But for all that, I loved the character. Maybe because of all that, I connected with Luke.
As I have grown, I have found much to love about the other characters who were/are probably more complex and whose story arcs are in many ways deeper and more nuanced than Luke’s.
Han Solo, the “scruffy-looking nerf herder”, that scoundrel “who made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs,” has emerged as a character I now find incredibly interesting.
That’s how life works; as a child we see the world one way and as we grow we often find our perceptions change. This is just as true, or at least how it is meant to be, when it comes to our faith.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.1 Corinthians 13:11 (New International Version)
Growing up is natural and good. It is helpful in allowing us to see the world more clearly and to respond with greater compassion and love.
At the same time, growing can sometimes lead to becoming callused and jaded. Again, I’m reminded of Han Solo. Part of what is so great about Luke is his innocence when we first meet him. He is naïve and his inexperience leaves him open to doing what most everyone believes is impossible, defeating the Empire.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 18:3
Grow up but become like little children. Is it possible? I believe it must be with and through Christ. I believe it is an adventure to rival the best Star Wars story (I’m voting The Mandalorian). I believe it is worth trying. I might not make it in 12 parsecs, but if I can grow older while remaining like a child, those will be years well spent.
Life is better together,