“That’s how we win. Not by fighting what we hate. By saving what we love.” –The Last Jedi
They are always outnumbered. Out-manned. Out-gunned/shipped. Out-everything-ed.
Except when it comes to their gigantic hearts and enormous spirits and determined mindset not to let the First Order rule. Not ever. Not as long as they can help it. Again and again they refuse to succumb to what is purely powerful when they can choose what is truly right. Again and again they choose the greater good, even at the cost of their own lives. Again and again they get back up. No matter what has (temporarily) decimated them.
It is so, so easy to walk out of a movie theater, having seen a Star Wars episode, and think, “Ok. I’ve/We’ve got this. All is not lost. If Darth Vader can be saved from his own darkness…if Rey can resist Kylo…if Leia can survive losing Han…if Luke can be rallied…if Poe can keep hopping in an X-Wing to blow things up….” If they can do all that…still…in the face of the sort of evil that pervades, consumes, seeks to thoroughly control…well, surely, I can (fill in the blank).
And in this last episode, the oldest truth about those Rebels struck me in the newest of ways…they lead with love.
First and foremost, they lead with love. For one another, for their world, for the lives they seek to live, for the peace they believe is possible. They lead with love.
Which made it the most perfect movie to see as 2017 faded into 2018 and a host of memories, regrets, sorrows, angers, joys and questions flooded my brain like an open gallon of milk that has been knocked over and spills out in great waves before you can do anything about it. Because, as I watched the most delightful Carrie Fisher play perhaps her finest role for the last time with such grace and commitment, I broke out of my own NYE reflection reverie long enough to acknowledge, “She’s still leading with love.”
Not anger. Though she certainly is. Not sadness. Though her life has held so much grief. Not tyranny. Though she likely could get away with it, as much as they all bow to her. Not fear. She has no time for that and has seen it all anyway.
No. She leads with love. For her family. For her people. For her world. And I am convinced that this makes all the difference for those who would follow her to Jakku and back, time and time again, if she asked.
Y’all, there is more to be angry about in this life than I could even begin to name for us all. Private betrayals. Corporate abuses. National debacles. Personal losses. Shattered dreams. For all of us, there are deep griefs, and those griefs often have no home but anger at what we believe has led to what whatever it is we’ve lost. And such anger can feel as though it might destroy us. Such grief can feel like it might drown us. There’s just so much…too much, it can seem.
But I believe with all that I am that when we lead with grief or anger, we fail to lead at all.
Do not misunderstand me–there is a time and place for both grief and anger. They must be faced. And we cannot simply ignore their presence in our lives. But also, we cannot give either room to riot…to control…to wreak havoc on any goodness that might remain. Because to do so is to simply fight what we hate…instead of actively seeking to save what we love.
It’s a choice really, for each of us to make–do we fight what threatens to destroy us with anger? Or do we seek to save what’s best about us, and our lives, by continuing to first, love?
Maybe it’s the same thing and I’m simply playing with semantics, but I don’t think so. Mindset matters. So does intent. And so do the longings of our beautiful hearts, each of them made with a desire to love and be loved. And I cannot help but believe that when we lead from that place of love, we do ourselves and the world around us one better than has been done before.
I don’t know what leading with love looks like for everybody. But I know for me it requires two things: constant expression of gratitude and careful attention to listening.
Constant expression of gratitude for the goodness in my life.
Careful attention to listening to those who think, believe and act differently than I ever have or ever would.
These are the things that help me love. And love hard. Because ohemgee, loving hard…it is so necessary and so difficult both, in these days that we are living.
I think, what I want most in 2018, is to be like General Leia Organa: grounded, grieved, determined, hopeful, and, most of all, still, despite all things, filled with love for those around me.
Most days I suspect I’ll be tempted to be more like Poe, ready to just blow some sh!t up and scrap against whatever I see rising against me. And maybe sometimes there will be a need for that.
But mostly…mostly I just want to be about saving what I love, not fighting against what I hate. Because honestly, in the end, I think that might be our only way.
Maybe even our only hope.