On Binary Sunsets

I’m not really a “crier”, but I turn into a blubbering baby when I watch the original Star Wars films. There are only a few films that can do this to me: Lonesome Dove, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring are probably the only other two.

In a previous post entitled The Incorruptible Son, I touched the tip of the iceberg of the sentiment I feel when I watch Luke Skywalker take those fabled steps out of his home- a dusty, sci-fi hovel on that famous desert planet Tatooine. The first time I saw that moment, sitting in the back room of my late Grandmother’s house in Snyder, Texas, I was nine years old and it filled me with an inexhaustible longing that has shaped my life. You see, this was a story about a boy who looked out into a desolate horizon and saw all the adventure waiting for him among the stars. His gifts, all of his natural talents are completely wasted in his current station in life. And so, we are allowed this short and powerful glimpse into the heart of a boy who, more than anything, wants to get past the yellow sands of a mundane life and find all the miraculous things floating above him in that star filled galaxy. He is the child orphan who remains talented but unused. A revolver always cocked but never fired or a sword expertly crafted that impatiently remains sheathed. In that moment, we see the longing in Luke’s heart, because he knows, as so many of us have known in our own lives, that life is less when the special things about us are jailed away because of circumstance, but that existence is grand and filled with wonder when our gifts are given means by which we may exercise them.

There are moments within Luke’s narrative that touched me deeply when I was young and honestly they cut me deeply these days.Those who know me best understand that Sherlock Holmes is my favorite fictional character, but Luke Skywalker is the one who I identify with the most. I remember the first time I saw Luke walk out of his home, alone and among the falling suns of that fictional world, while watching him and being absolutely crushed by John Williams’ score, I thought, “You’re just like me.”

Is that silly? Probably.
But it’s true.

I identified with the loneliness of his longing and now firmly believe that longing and loneliness are inescapably married within the human heart. That scene, seen by a nine year old boy of an oil-field worker, and later by a thirty-one year old father of two, pulls at my soul. When I see Luke looking at those twin stars, I cannot help but remember the desire that Luke’s narrative put into me. This was primal as a boy, influential as a teenager, and even now as a grown man I cannot help but be moved by the power of the singular notion behind what this scene represents. It pulls on the viewer’s need to matter in their world.

Our need to have measurable weight in our lives and the lives of others. That none of us are just the sum of our parts. It elicits the hope that our lives are not dictated by our circumstances.That despite the disbelief of others, we do matter. Though we might be orphans to a cruel parent, citizens of derelict places, or consistently told that our lives are just candles edging toward their own extinction – this scene of a falling sunset, this piece of art, communicates that hope is worth holding on to. What we do in our own narrative changes the stories of others. While you may feel like a child, who has only changed the world in the amount of sand he’s kicked up on the dunes to which he is relegated, you can actually be heroic. With the heart and hope of a child who houses a longing heart, you too can escape the desert of your circumstances. It all starts by walking out of the prison huts either we, or others, or the world has built for us, being courageous enough to take the steps necessary to crest the top of the hill of our doubt, and then braving to look toward the stars. Amid that, dusty twin sun horizon is where dreams are waiting.

Dreams, which are of course, the infant beginnings of transformation.


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