Sometimes You Are My Yoda

“Sometimes you are my Yoda.”

This came in an email from my daughter Abby.  We were discussing disappointment and in true Momma G fashion, I reminded her that we all have disappointment.  It is what we do with that disappointment that matters.

Everyone knows that Yoda is a character from the Star Wars movies.  He is known for his legendary wisdom and mastery of The Force.  Although I would like to be, I’m not a Jedi Master, but like Yoda, I prefer to tease out what is already in the hearts of the people I mentor.

Some people say, “When God closes a door, He opens a window,” but I don’t agree with that statement.  Sometimes things just don’t work out the way we wish.  I have a strong faith in a God who is real and personal, but I do not picture him a giant puppeteer who pulls our marionette strings to make us hop and dance in the direction He pleases.  I don’t see Him running before me, pushing aside boulders and fallen trees so the path before me is clear of obstacles, and I don’t believe He reverses the law of physics so I won’t get hurt when I trip on the top stair.

I often picture life like swimming in the sea. There are clear days with calm winds, when ocean swells lift you to the sky to kiss the sun, and then gently lay you back to float in the cool until another wave lifts you again.  But there are also days when black seas churn with anger and relentlessly pummel you again and again. After every wave you struggle to regain your footing and before you are totally upright, another torrent is unleashed, sending you to your knees once again. Time after time you fight against the assaults and time after time, you are pushed to your knees.

It is not by accident that we are pushed to our knees, for it is on our knees that we acknowledge our God and declare our subservience to His will.  This is a hard concept for Americans to understand, and even harder to embrace.  But by this simple act- falling to one’s knees – we are able to admit that we don’t know everything, we aren’t all powerful, and we all need help. 

Getting pushed to our knees sometimes hurts.  We get scrapes and cuts from rocks and shells that lie at the bottom of the sea.  It is humbling to struggle to our feet again, our stiff joints creaking in protest.  It is embarrassing, when we look around and see that others have watched us fall.

But here’s the thing.  With every failure we are given the opportunity to succeed. We may not get the prize we seek, but we get the chance to accept defeat with grace.  Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Abraham Lincoln- these are all people who fell to their knees and rose again.  We remember them not just for their accomplishments alone, but for the people they became, despite or even because of adversity. They are gems- diamonds created by the pressures of life.

When I think of people who are diamonds such as these, I think of my friends Sue and Steve.  They have endured their share of life’s storms- a daughter born more  than three months premature, a son with leukemia, siblings with cancer- but I have never in my life heard them ask “Why me?”  Instead, they face challenges full-on, charging bravely forward, waving a flag of fortitude and brandishing a smile of courage and hope.  They reach out to others, offering comfort and support to those who may have similar challenges.  They listen with open hearts to those who need to talk, and offer salve to those who ache from battle fatigue.  Instead of allowing the wars they fight to make them tough and hard, they open their arms and expose their hearts.  Despite their own problems, they have stood with me during some of my darkest hours. They are heroes without the fanfare and I will love them forever.

So, when Abby emailed me with her disappointment, I did what Yoda would do.  I reminded her that it is okay that she has been knocked to her knees. I reminded her of who she is and what she believes.  I reminded her that she needs to dig deep to find that inner resource that God has already placed deep within her.  I reminded her that she will figure it all out.  And then I reminded her that she already knows all this.

Now, if you’ll excuse me,  I have to go polish my lightsaber.

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