This afternoon, I wait fairly patiently to see episode seven of the Star Wars movie series. I recall the first one I saw in the movie theater: Return of the Jedi. When the three first episodes of the series was re-released in 1998, I went to see each one. Although they were altered from their previous release, the magic of each episode superseded any technology that was or was not added from the first release. And then in 1999, 2002 and 2005, I went on opening day to see Episodes 1, 2 and 3, respectively.
Today, I’ve been thinking about various scenes in the movies – from Han replying to Leia “I know” when she tells him she loves him to the scene where Luke discovers Leia is his sister to the scenes where Anakin begins to transform to the dark side.
Fortunately, the blood was minimal in each of the first six movies. Faceless Storm Troopers were eliminated here and there, and Han shoots Greedo before we can become invested in the character. (Still not right, Han. We know you shot first.) Yet one scene sticks with me as the most traumatizing: the bodies of Younglings on the floor after Anakin stages a massacre.
In 2005, all we could believe was that this was a movie, an illustration of how someone transforms into an evil being. This is what soaking in fear and anxiety will do to someone who has the potential to allow toxic messages to penetrate their soul.
But it was just a movie… Right?
And then, Sandy Hook happened seven years later.
At the time of Sandy Hook, my nephew was also in first grade. There was one other child with his first name. The image of the Younglings popped into my head. Imagining a scene where bubbly, lively children are no longer alive was too much. Thinking of the tears falling from the eyes of the moms and dads and grandparents and aunts and uncles of the Sandy Hook Younglings was too intense.
It’s still too much to think about…
I don’t want other scenes in movies or real life when Younglings or first graders are massacred. I don’t want to hear of any more shootings or slayings or rapes.
I don’t want to vision a scene where children’s bodies – or any human bodies – are lifeless on the ground. To me, this event was the most sinister of any event that has happened in this country during the course of my life – as much as September 11.
This week, with the anniversary of Sandy Hook and the release of Star Wars episode seven reminds me that scenes like this can happen – that the Force, our agency, can be used to hurt as well as heal.
And so we pray that the Force will be used to love one another, to heal our divisions, to turn our lightsabers, swords and guns into ploughshares and anything else that will help us build and nurture.