It appears that I find myself in a silent minority. I cannot speak to my students about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” because I have yet to see it. I know people who have been to the theater on multiple occasions to view this latest Star Wars offering. Whether I will force myself to see it at some point in the future, I cannot say. I guess that I don’t particularly feel drawn into the excitement surrounding this awakening episode. Perhaps, I’m in some form of semi-comatose state. On the other hand, I may have been so thoroughly enlightened by the master Jedi years ago that my system is not begging to be refueled. I have been sharing some old video of my favorite character, Yoda, with our six-year-old son. I believe that some of Yoda’s teachings are worth pondering. I am certain that you are familiar with a specific line which our little guy finds rather amusing. “No! Try not! Do or do not! There is no try!”Recently, when anyone in our family uses the term “try” the response, of course, is an emphatic “No! Try not! Do or do not! There is no try!” We have enjoyed some wonderful laughs “trying” to avoid speaking a sentence without using the word “try.”
If you have ever thought the famous scene on the planet Dagoba with the grand, green master and young Luke Skywalker to be a wee bit harsh, I can understand your feelings. If you believe such commentary to fit in the realm of tough love talk, I can see that as well. Whatever you have previously tried (Oh, no, I said the word) to extract from this classic moment in the Empire Strikes Back, I hope it has led you to the light of knowledge and hope rather than the darkness of despair and defeat. Taken out of context this well known Yodaism, would appear to have one simple meaning. “Do or do not! There is no try!” Many would interpret this as teaching Luke, and yourself, that when you decide to start something, anything at all, for goodness sake, finish it! To those who may struggle with this concept I ask, “Is not your timeline for finishing different from others”? Ponder this as well. Are you ever really finished?
Adding a few more lines, though, changes the message dramatically. Yoda: “Always with you what cannot be done.” Luke: “We’ll never get it out now,” speaking of his fighter jet. Yoda: “So certain are you.” When Yoda raises the plane out of the swamp, Luke exclaims: “I don’t believe it!” The response from the wrinkly sage is surely applicable to each of us at various points in our lives. Yoda: “That is why you fail!”
Don’t we all have our “Luke moments”? We’ve given up before we have really even begun (our training). We dwell on our weaknesses and our current limitations. This only serves to weaken us further and limits our progress. In our “Luke moments,” we begin by doubting our ability. That is a recipe for failure. But, in truth, “No one has failed who keeps on trying and keeps on praying.”–Jeffrey R. Holland Not only do we not deem ourselves up to the task at hand, but in our “Luke moments” we don’t trust the guidance of the Master. We may hear the loving, authoritative counsel, but rather than heeding it, we move in the opposite direction out of fear or stubbornness. Mahatma Gandhi, unrelated by blood to Yoda, but nevertheless just as inspired, provided this insight: “We may stumble and fall but shall rise again; it should be enough that we did not run away from the battle. Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.” I love this statement! Particularly pertinent to me is the last part. “Full effort is full victory.” No matter what we think, our best will always be good enough. How can that be so? “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.”–Abraham Lincoln I would add that reliance on the Master, after all we can do, will ultimately determine our destiny. “When you do your part, the Lord adds His power to your efforts.”–Henry B. Eyring So, try, try, and try some more. Eventually, your commitment will lead to the “doing” part of Yoda’s pleading. In your journey through mortality, you may find yourself stuck in a figurative swamp. While in the midst of these deepest, darkest “Luke moments,” remember to doubt not, only believe. Regardless of any immediate outcome, your best effort in each endeavor you attempt will always be worthwhile. You will not have wasted time, though the result isn’t yet entirely what you desire. Before every “try” can become a “do” it must start with belief. “As we try, and persevere, and help others do the same, we are truly serving a great purpose. As we change, we find out that God indeed cares a lot more about who we are and who we are becoming than about who we once were.”–Dale G. Renlund