Several years ago, we introduced our (now) 7 year old to the REAL Star Wars (episodes IV-VI). If you want, we can talk about my issues with I-III another time….
Star Wars is cheesy. Star Wars is fun. And, surprise!!! Star Wars is kinda deep, ya’ll.
Star Wars was a huge part of my growing up, having watched it myself from a young age. I grew up with those movies, and I’ve been pretty determined that my kids should too. In our house, there was always the question of who was better: Han Solo or Luke Skywalker? It was with great joy and excitement that we shared the films with our then 5-year-old daughter. And as we expected, she LOVED them.
Last year, Nikki requested to be Darth Vader for Halloween. This didn’t come as a surprise to me because of some earlier conversations. After she had seen all of the movies, I asked who her favorite character was. She said, “Darth Vader.” And then I was kinda surprised. The villain!?! She added: “He still had love in his heart.”
I guess this points out a thing or two about me. That never occurred to me. I mean, yes, we know in the end he saves Luke. But I don’t think it ever hit me like it did with her. And I think that’s a failing on my part. I try to teach my kids that everyone is worth loving. And they really take it to heart. But my surprise in this situation just goes to show how little I really take it to heart.
My daughter taught me a bit about how no one is a lost cause. Like the thief on the cross or Zaccheus, the shunned tax collector, Darth Vader shows us that there is always hope! And, like Darth Vader, I had to learn this kind of love of humanity from my own child.
And I try to keep this in mind when I contemplate the evil in the world, and the fact that the Christian faith triumphs in the darkest hours. When we are being killed and tortured, that is when our message of love and peace and forgiveness really reaches its climax. It took Luke’s near-death experiences at the hands of the Emperor to break through to Darth Vader…for him to realize he was on the wrong side, even if it was the “strong” side.
There is no one so evil or so far gone that God cannot bring them back. During these days when we are so ready to take offence, and to see the other as an enemy, to paint them with colors of evil intent and the darkest of hearts, we need to remember that there is no one so far gone. The self serving politicians? The abortion doctors? The heartless business tycoons? The ISIS tyrants? There isn’t one that God can’t bring back. And we don’t help win them back by our rage and hate… How did Luke Skywalker do it? How did Jesus do it? How did the martyrs do it?
With love, unconditional.
So I celebrate how much my daughter loves the villain of Star Wars, because he proves there is no one beyond the reach of love. This shows me something beautiful in her, something that I didn’t put there, but that I want to cultivate.