If you have not seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and do not want surprises ruined or plot lines revealed, read no further. In other words: Spoiler Alert!

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Huge thanks to my friends Holly and Joel, who saw Episode VII its first week out, and who, when I said, “Oh I can’t wait, I’m going to go see it on my own next week” said, “You will NOT go alone! You just can’t.”

What they really meant, I discovered, is that a person shouldn’t see it alone, because if you are of a certain demographic, there’s too much history too share. Too many moments for communal celebration. Too much, it must be said, to wax nostalgic over.

Look, I know some folks say the plot line’s got holes. To this I say 1) What Star Wars installment doesn’t? We never quite get the whole story. And, 2) Who cares?!?  There was Chewie! And Han! And…ok, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself…what I really want to say is this: I loved it. With my childhood self who watched Return of the Jedi over and over and cried every time, and with my 40 year-old self who was reminded of some very important truths…so, on that note, here goes, my favorite quotes as Star Wars lit up the big screen all over again, and what they helped me think about:

  • “Garbage will do!” hollers Rey as the ship she and her unexpected comrade Finn are rushing towards to escape Storm Troopers blows up. They reroute towards another ship, rusty and ancient and it seems half-wasted away. Finn had suggested it moments earlier, and Rey had pronounced it garbage. But now “garbage” is their only option. And so began my first “Oh! My! God!” moment as Rey’s supposed garbage rose up out of its wreckage at her swift and smart piloting and the Millennium Falcon soared again.

We do this often, y’all. We don’t give credit to that which has come before us. We focus on our shiny new technology and the things that look sleeker, better, more capable, more modern and advanced. We pronounce “garbage” old phones or aging laptops or clunky cars. Even worse, we often fail to honor the people that have come before us. The ancient ways that have made us who we are. The history that we come from and that has made this life we live possible. Garbage? The Millennium Falcon?!?

No. 

Modern advances across all industries and sciences and civilizations have, it is true, improved many things about life as we know it. But they are not solely what has gotten us to where we are. Sometimes, that which we have pronounced garbage might be exactly what we need in a present moment.

  • “Is that possible?” Rey says to Han at a crisis point, and in typical Han fashion he tells her he never asks that question until he’s tried the thing thought impossible.

It’s the last time in the movie that Rey hesitates. She’s all in from that moment forward, and I grinned over and over as she grew into the person, the mighty warrior and leader, that she is.

How often, y’all, do we ask, “Is that possible?” and in doing so limit the very possibility we seek? What I’ve always loved about Han, once he’s come around to a mission, is his “Let’s just do this!” attitude, his swagger that insists, “We will not fail!” We need these people in our world, because they help the rest of us become who we’re meant to be.

  • As Maz Kanata says, every so gently but insistently to Rey, “The belonging you seek is not behind you, it is ahead,” a lump the size of the first Death Star rose in my throat. I could see Rey’s world being torn apart, and could see, too, the wholeness that Maz was trying to tell her might lie ahead. To the past, and to what she knew as her currently reality, Rey had been clinging desperately, shoddy and painful as they were, sure that in it all lay her salvation.

But no–Maz helps her see that what she’s been looking for, hoping against hope for, it is not to be found where she’s been. It is to be found in where she’s headed. In the beautiful possibility, even as there will be pain in the getting there, of what she could be…do…become.

  • “Chewie, we’re home,” Han says, so full-heartedly, as he and his steadfast Wookie board their beloved MF. And suddenly all was right with the world. I knew, knew, at that moment, that Rey and Finn would be okay. As for what ultimately becomes of Han, I can’t talk about that just yet. He is my favorite of them all….

But in that moment? And so many after, right up until the end, he is a vivid reminder that if we’re lucky, we get more than one chance at being our best in this life, more than one shot at glory, however we might define that glory. Han’s far from perfection, and I’ve always thought him so damaged and demon ridden, and even more so in this film. But he’s real. And he’s in it, full stop. And he’s willing to risk his very life to make things right.

Sometimes, the universe aligns and we get to come home again. So we can finish the business we once started.

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Predictable? Perhaps. Thin plot line? Maybe. But mostly what #7 reminded me of is that our stories, they are never quite over. And for all that we’ve experienced and learned, there is still so much we don’t know.

We stand in our current reality with all that has come before us and all that lies ahead of us making a bigger picture, a broader story, an unknown-as-of-yet longview, arcing over and around us.

And our place in this arc, this story…it matters. 

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