Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Where Yoda Meets Pink

“Do or do not; there is no try.”

“But just because it burns doesn't mean you're gonna die; you've gotta get up and try, and try, and try.”

Yoda’s words to Luke are pretty nonsensical when you think about them. How many parents would tell a child learning to walk or ride a bike those words? We all know that life is about learning and learning is all about trying and failing, over and over again. We live in a world where more people are encouraged to try, fail and grow. We talk about “cultures of smart failure” and “having the courage to fail.”

That being said, there are two areas in life where Yoda’s advice is the only way to proceed. The first is in the case of love, and that is where Pink’s song conveys where our culture has gotten it so wrong. We have made love all about emotion, feeling good, and something upon which we just have to “stumble.” We encourage people to follow their fickle emotions and when those emotions subside (surprise!) we tell them it is over and they have to go looking elsewhere.

True love has very little to do with emotions, other than emotions are a byproduct of it. Love is really about choice, the other, and something we determine to do. So, in the case of true love, Yoda is dead right. You do or do not, there is not try. Marriage is a promise to disregard one’s own feelings and needs and to focus soley on the others. When both parties abide by their promise, everyone is cared for and emotions tend towards the good end of the spectrum. However, when one party fails it doesn’t change the promise of the other. It is “till death do us part” without clauses or caveats.

Oh, to be sure people these days have those caveats in mind even if they don’t speak them before God and witnesses. And while there is forgiveness available to people who break that promise, people prefer to think that they don’t need forgiveness if they can find a clause that voids their promise.

The other area in life where Yoda is right is in the area of faith. You either believe or you don’t. You have to jump in with both feet and trust. This is another case where we commit depending on another person. In true love we commit to love another and real success depends on more than our own faithfulness. In true faith we depend and trust on God to be true and we are helpless in His hands.

Or you could choose one of the many faiths that depend on you getting it right and being “good enough.” But then we are back to trying, and every religion that depends on man’s goodness has failed thus far.

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