Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Look Out For The Anakin/Darth Vader In Your Life

Star Wars turned 35 this past weekend.

Until three weeks ago, I did not care at all. Like many American kids born in the late 60s/early 70s, I saw the original Star Wars trilogy and enjoyed it back then. No interest at all. Ever again. Until my sweet Evan asked me to watch the movies one weekend.

Because I like Samuel L. Jackson, I thought - let's start with the more recent trilogy and watch them in order over two weekends and that plan culminated with this past holiday weekend coinciding with the anniversary.

I had no idea the impact this story would have on me.

I am a huge student of understanding and perspective. My perspective on the story of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader reminds me of the daily struggle we all face and the power loving others has on redemption.

When I saw the movies in the 70s, I was child and like many, we just took it for face value that Darth Vader was evil. Yeah, he came around and saved his son in the end but seeing the first 3 movies really gave us the depth of his true character. It also is a cautionary tale for living today. We cannot make too many assumptions.

My view is that Anakin was flawed brilliance discouraged from being who he was and that led to who he became. His overwhelming quick study of the force made Obi-Wan Kenobi suspicious of him rather than encouraging of him, even as a boy. When he wanted to bring himself fully, questions/flaws and all to the discipline of the Jedi - he was shutdown and forced to conform to the Jedi way as Jedi masters had known it for centuries. There is even a scene where he questions if the Jedi were actually doing what they'd set out to do or had they become part of the problem.All these things casts doubts among the people he trusted most, his Jedi master and his true love, Padme.

Make no mistake, he made the choice to join the evil side. Even though he did it ultimately to save his love, he did it just the same. He also suffered the consequences of that choice until the end of his life when he was able to redeem that choice in one move to save his son, Luke from the Emperor.

I love his story and he is now one of my favorite characters in movies all time.

I love his fall and rise at the end but I do think it was preventable. There are Anakins all around us everyday.

So, what are we doing to prevent Darth Vaders from rising up in our lives?

Do we accept people as they are or do we attempt to force them to blend?

Do we see questioning authority as a negative or do we encourage it?

Do we encourage people in their talents and help them grow them more or do we ask them to water them down to fit our own needs?

Do we give up on people when we see them go awry or do we hang in there, gather reinforcements and help pull them through?

These are all questions we face in all aspects of our daily lives when we interact with others. Are we building folks up or subtlety letting folks down around us?

I will be on the look out for ways to encourage the Anakins of the world. Will you join me?

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