It's been said there are only two kinds of people in this world, only two kinds of people that determine the shape of our world and the experiences in it. These two kinds of people are needed, but it's the structure that's so important. What are these two kinds of people? If you haven't already guessed:
I put them in order of importance, of course, and also show the camp I am undeniably in. But before I start a war here, let me extend the analogy.
Stretching Our Terms
We could spend years discussing the similarities between, superiority of, and differences that distinguish our favorite SyFy saga from the pack, but it's been done. What I'm going to do here is shamelessly manipulate only certain aspects of each of these sagas to make points we can all draw meaning and relevance from for our own life. To do that, I want to "set up camps" using a rather arbitrary system of judgments you might agree with or loathe me for stating. Don't get bogged down in the particulars, but look for the analogy.
Star Wars fans, like the saga they support...
- Have clearly defined boundaries - there was a beginning, and an end, to the Star Wars series. The prequels were not so much additions as they were the stories waiting for the means, and medium, to do so well. And no, I don't want to talk about the recent buzz on continuing the saga. These will not be part of the originals, so they are more like spin-offs for profits' sake than anything else. 'Nuff said?
- Define and maintain standards - the standard of story-telling is the original movies, Episodes IV, V, and VI. I, II, and III didn't live up to their predecessors, though they did complete the story (in reverse, as it were) and answered many questions that the originals raised. I through VI stand alone and pursue excellence that is often measurable and concrete.
- Press boundaries for more possibility - nothing like different actors playing the same role, or a finished story is going to stop this intrepid crew. There are more stories to be told and new characters to be introduced. And hey, if someone, or something, doesn't work, it's time for a deus ex machina in the script or a sad death and another character to fill the void!
- Pursue freedom from limitations - there are always new worlds to explore and so new generations of explorers to be found. They may also have easily measurable standards, but are more creatively aware of the times when the standards won't reach excellence and more dreaming would be of benefit.
- They need support from those like themselves - Star Wars fans and Star Trek fans both have their conventions. They gather for support, fun, and to bounce ideas off each other. We all need support, we all want love, and we all crave belonging. Most often this happens through those like ourselves, but what a blessing when it comes from someone across the aisle!
- They have value and purpose - Star Trek and Star Wars have, as cultural forces, made indelible marks on our cultural psyches. Good-natured ribbing is one thing, but to destroy the inherent worth or value of either because they are different is a betrayal of yourself.
You're probably asking right now, "Is he going to get to a point?" That's because points are important to you. The destination. The final idea to rest your head upon. Here it is, POINT # 1, again: we are all people in pursuit. We may be pursuing different things but, by and large, we do not live life ticking off various check marks in "life goal" boxes. Realistically, some of you may actually do that (I admit, the thought of doing that makes me think of a hamster... on a wheel... in a cage, but if it works for you, then I say have at it)! But if you do, how many of you have reached the end of those checked boxes without adding more? You may hate me for bringing these dark secrets in your life to light, but you never reach the end of the boxes because life is in the act of pursuing not in the arrival. We are ALL people in pursuit! Let me give a fairly common example:
If you watch movies or TV, what do you enjoy most? Don't you love those stories that have the underdog coming from behind to win it all? The loser who finds herself and blows away all the competition? The struggling guy who defies the odds and becomes the man that very few saw in him?
I do. I love those movies. Why? Because they give me hope. Hope that maybe I can be different, better than I am now. A truer model of myself than the one that seems to break down when my weaknesses appear to be in all my defining characteristics. And sometimes that shift in our perspectives is necessary to get us over the proverbial hump that's holding us back. And that hump can be anything that separates the you you are from the you you want to be. If you haven't got an over-inflated sense of self, chances are something just came to mind. If you think you might have an over-inflated sense of self, feel free to go take this short, free Narcissist Personality Quiz and remove all doubt!
There are times when we all need the encouragement of others to progress to that next stage of our development. Sometimes we need to be confronted with what others see in us before we can see it in ourselves. There's a runners blog post that does a great job at pointing this out, but the ideas the writer addresses are applicable to any number of different areas in life. It's worth a read, even if the title is an initial turn-off. Stick with it. You might find it was worth it in the end.
It's one thing to be told of your inherent worth as a person, but something completely different to believe it in yourself. I can tell my Bride she's beautiful and that she looks great all I want, but it takes someone else saying it for her to start to believe it. You know why? All the women reading this answered the question already but I'll still fill in the guys that are sitting there asking, "Why?"
She doesn't believe me because my pursuit of her is biased. I love my Bride, and I would do anything for her. In the mind of this man, that means that I will be there for her and love her no matter what. She may tick me off at times, or catch the full force of my stupid selfishness and ungodly anger, but that does not change my love for her. But I perceive that in her mind, she heard that my perception of her could not possibly be valid or useful to her because I don't see her rightly. My eyes are clouded by love. However, isn't marriage capable of being the remarkable institution it is--the one established by God--precisely BECAUSE my eyes are clouded by love? Could it be that my understanding of her is all the more powerful BECAUSE of my bias?
Think about it. When we think of marriage, or love, as not seeing each other rightly, there will always come that day when the veil drops, when the blinders fall off and we let our guard down. We finally act like the person we truly are. And THAT IS UGLY, brother!! Prior to getting married, the circumstance was relayed to us like this: "There's gonna come a day when you're going to be brushing your teeth and she's gonna be on the pot. When that day comes, the honeymoon is over." Living our life, we've reached that day, and our forcing-out-blackheads-in-the-mirror moments, and the honeymoon is still going strong. The warts are shown for what they are and we're faced with a choice to make: is the person we're committed to worth overlooking their faults or are those faults deal breakers?
In a truly loving relationship/marriage, our spouse is WORTH the perseverance on our part. Our eyes ARE clouded by love, but clouds have this amazing ability to bring comforting shade in the heat of the day and April showers that nurture the life ready to spring from the ground it falls on. They also warn us of coming storms and we prepare accordingly so we can make it out alive. My marriage is looong past the honeymoon stage, and yet the honeymoon is still going strong. As a follower of Jesus, I'm okay with the tension in such a dichotomy, because I see the same dichotomies all throughout scripture. And I'm better for the stretching.
Soooo... I'm a Star Wars Fan...
You're probably wanting to know which my wife prefers. Is she a Star Wars Fan, or a Trekkie through and through? You know opposites attract so she's got to be a Star Trek fan, making for a tense Thanksgiving break, right?
Sorry, boys. She's a Pride & Prejudice fan. Let the pursuit continue...
And no, there is no Point # 2. I know that really bothers some of you. You should just let it go now. I may, or may not, have done that just to mess with you.
What about you? What pursuits are you on? What are the things you value most in life?