I have been waiting.
As the world has descended into fear, anxiety, sickness and death, I have been waiting to respond. First I was exhausted—tired of figuring out how to work from home, tired as I stay with my parents and adjust my schedule, and tired of packing and moving apartments. I found myself (and still do, as I am ever the introvert), exhausted from digital meetings where I get a fraction of the in-person connection I long for. Hugs are my love language, and I miss them dearly.
Then I waited because I simply didn’t know what else to add to the conversation. I didn’t want to write empty words that no one needed to read ONE. MORE. TIME. Not to mention that every time I hear another death toll count, my anxiety makes me feel as if a Dementor’s bony hand is clasping its way around my heart.
Have I lost hope? No. My God is greater, stronger, more awesome in power than anything, including COVID-19. Greater than death itself. I say that not to come off trite or unconcerned…I am concerned and I strive to be prudent. My parents are both at-risk; I have friends with pre-existing conditions or with young children. I have had pneumonia before, and bronchitis multiple times, which is also cause for being careful. But my hope, my love, my attitude is cemented in Jesus. He who loved me when I was sinful died for me, and faith in Him anchors me in the sway and roar of the waves.
Therefore, faithfulness and hope have become themes for me these past few weeks. Yet even in my faithfulness, I have been mourning. Mourning can be for any loss. That of a person, a pet, a hobby, an ability, etc. Mourning comes in shades and degrees; right now, I am faithful yet still mourning. Joyful, yet feeling sorrow.
I desperately miss last April. I’ve been thinking a lot about where I was this time last year: getting ready for my very first Star Wars Celebration convention, binge-watching Star Wars Rebels, and finding myself at Home Depot at 9pm trying to figure out how to best mold foam into cosplay armor (see Kanan Jarrus cosplay below 😉). And yes, I’m quite proud that not only was I the only female I saw cosplaying Kanan, but I got cheered on by other women for it, and Freddie Prinze, Jr. himself said how much he liked my cosplay!
Almost a year to date, and McCormick Place in Chicago, the convention center which held SWCC, has been converted into a temporary hospital to aid in the fight against COVID-19. It’s basically looks like a M*A*S*H unit, and upon seeing the photos of it, I was already brokenhearted for families torn apart by this. For women giving birth without their husbands being able to accompany them in hospitals, for dying family members having to say good-bye over phones or walkie-talkies. And hearing politicians debate whether or not our response thus far has been good or bad in an election year does not help. What matters most is humanity. The good side of people. Hearing about towns and communities singing and cheering the changes of shifts at hospitals. Seeing nurses and doctors praying, on their knees, crying out to God. Celebrating the rise of Jesus this past weekend through Easter. This is beautiful. And it also gives me hope.
A year ago I was binge-watching Star Wars Rebels, determined to finish it before SWCC because I knew the Rebels panel would officially spoil the end of the series for me. Ever since the moment in the series premiere when Kanan says “Kid, I’m about to let everyone in on the secret,” I was captivated.
I felt in-step with Kanan more than any other Star Wars character. He had a hope, a sadness, and a frustration or even doubt at times that I could identify with so deeply. I wished I could give Freddie and Dave Filoni a hug and shout “thank you!!!” The night before we left for SWCC, I watched “Jedi Night” with my friend Kristen (yup, still your fault Kristen), and was devastated. I cried almost as much as I did at the M*A*S*H series finale…and if you know me, you know that’s A LOT. A LOT A LOT. I mourned Kanan as if he had truly been my friend. And when I told Freddie Prinze, Jr. about how much that episode shook me when I met him at SWCC, he said, “Good! It was supposed to.”
And so in remembering that and feeling that heaviness, I’ve been Googling Rebels again and reminiscing about Star Wars Celebration on its anniversary. I needed to remember that through the mourning, through the suffering, there is always hope. Here is one photo compilation I found:
What struck me most about this photo was the pairing of Kanan with 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight.” Kanan learned this most of all as he struggled through his own physical blindness, his own doubts about his identity as a Jedi, and his unsureness of the Force and the fight he had joined. Through training and work, he learned how to rely on wisdom and trust in the Force.
In the real world, we have the Holy Spirit. The Spirit leads us to hope, to faith, to changed hearts. It leads us to Jesus. Which is why, even during such a dark time as this, I have faith and hope in God. I have faith that we will come out of this a stronger world. I believe that the incredible bond and joy I saw throughout McCormick Place over the course of a 5-day convention can be found anywhere if we choose to look for it and encourage it. It's what we did when we watched the Episode IX trailer together for the first time, experiencing the joy (and sorrow) of the end of an era. It's how we responded to each other in line, striking up conversations as if we had known each other forever simply because we loved the same fandom.
We do not necessarily know or see the endgame of this, for any of us. But we have a God who does, and who has already seen this coming centuries in advance. While evil is not from God, He wastes nothing. I don’t know how this ends, or if it really will without us seeing remarkable changes in our society and world from now on. But as I walk through the uncertainty, I am holding onto faith. Faith in God, and hope in people like those of you at SWCC with me. For “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV).
Let us be faithful like Abraham, like Noah. Like Kanan, and like Hera.
“We will not stand down. We will not be broken by fear. We are strong, united by our courage. Now is our time.”
"We have hope. Hope that things will get better. And they will.
- Hera Syndulla
If you are finding yourself lost, or hopeless, or praising God through this…get in touch with any prayer requests or praises you have. I would love to meet you and pray with you. God bless. And may the force be with you.