I am a Star Wars nerd. Forgive me for my digression into Star Wars history, but I promise I have a point.
When we first see Chewbacca, the Wookie, he is a helper. He is fighting in the Clone Wars and helping Jedi Master Yoda escape from the clone troopers trying to kill him.
Somewhere along the way, he gets captured by the Empire and is locked away in a dark and muddy dungeon. His future looks bleak. This is where he meets Han Solo for the first time. He initially sees Han as an adversary, and possibly a meal, as he hadn’t been fed in three days. But as Han struggles desperately for survival, Chewbacca makes a choice to see with new eyes. He decides to see Han as an opportunity for freedom. And at that moment, he gains freedom AND a best friend.
From that point on, Chewie keeps doing Chewie things: that is, helping. He helps free some fellow Wookies from captivity, co-pilots (and regularly repairs) the Millennium Falcon, saves C-3PO from being melted down, rescues Luke after his Cloud City duel with Darth Vader, serves as bait in a bid to free Han from the clutches Jabba the Hutt, and assists the Ewoks on the Forest Moon of Endor which leads to the destruction of the shield generator, which enables the Rebels to destroy the second Death Star.
I told you I was a nerd. (Other nerdier nerds will reply with pieces I left out.)
The point is, Chewbacca is a helper.
Later, he will experience the grief of witnessing the death of his friend Han. Which gives Chewie another choice to make: wallow in grief and self-pity and leave the fight, or do the thing he does best: help.
If you watched the most recent trilogy, you know how it ends. Amidst the grief over the loss of some of his closest friends in the whole galaxy, Chewbacca helps the Resistance win the day, and gets a much-deserved medal of honor from Maz.
You may not know much about Star Wars, and we don’t live in a galaxy far, far away. But right now, we can relate to his story.
We are living in difficult times, filled with darkness and grief. The future can seem bleak. But like Chewie, we have a choice, which is what pair of glasses do we want to use to view our situation? Is it the end of the line, or a new opportunity?
I hope you choose to put on the glasses that help you to see possibility. Because there’s a lot of it right now.
And I hope you take Chewie’s lead and look for ways to help. Because there’s a lot of people who need it.
We may not make headlines with our actions, and there’s a good chance Maz Kanata won’t give us a medal for our efforts. But those efforts – the ones offered with humility, kindness, and love – they still matter. A lot.
Mr. Rogers encouraged us to look for the helpers in hard times. I hope you see one when you look in the mirror.
May the Force be with you.