The Pursuit of Goodness

“Mama, what’s your favorite TV show?”

This is a question that my daughter asks me at least once week and I always give her the same answer. Yesterday she asked me again and I gave her the usual response, “I Love Lucy.” then I added, “But I think Once Upon a Time is becoming a contender for that spot.” Now I am not big on watching television, to count the number of shows that I have watched enough to have extensive knowledge of, I wouldn’t need to go past my fingers. (Actually I just counted the number is seven.) Every now and again, however, a show comes along that I deem worthy of my time, and Once Upon a Time certainly fits into that category. During the first two seasons, my favorite characters were Prince Charming and Snow White. I love their story. The love and the commitment they have for/to the other. No matter what has been thrown at them they always find each other, every time. It truly is a beautiful thing.

After watching season three and especially season four, my favorite character changed to Killian Jones, also known as, Captain Hook. This leather clad pirate burst onto the screen at the beginning of season two and he was a villain, joining forces with Regina’s questionable mother Cora. He was consumed by vengeance and was relentless in his pursuit of it. During season two, I found him frustratingly amusing and oddly likeable, I was trying to not like this guy but still did, perhaps hoping that he would change. The season two finale showed that he could change, and the next two seasons proved that he not only could be but that he was a hero.

Killian Jones became my favorite Once Upon a Time character for the same reason that Anakin Skywalker is my favorite Star Wars character, they are both more than just a villain, or rather a guy who became a villain. They were both victims of circumstance and more importantly their reaction to those circumstances. The death of Killian’s brother made him a pirate, and the death of Anakin’s mother made him angry and opened up seeds of doubt. The death of Killian’s first love, Mila, produced in him the pursuit of revenge and he would do anything to get it. The fight with Obi-Wan and especially the death of Padame, caused Anakin to fully give himself to the dark side of the force. Each man needed a reason to see themselves differently, a reason to change, and a reason to do something heroic. For Captain Hook it was Emma, and for Darth Vader it was Luke. Killian and Anakin both figured that the desires of Hook and Vader would bring them satisfaction, but it wasn’t until they began to pursue what is good that they truly were fulfilled.

There are a few Bible verses that discuss the pursuit of goodness, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, tells us to, “Hold fast to what is good.” Matthew 12:35 says, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored in him.” To me this says that if one is to see the good that is in them, then goodness will surely be brought forth. However, the opposite is true if one sees themselves as evil or bad. And sometimes, like Killian and Anakin, one may not necessarily see themselves as evil, but rather encourages the evil or the desires of the flesh. Being angry, fearful, or pursuing revenge is easy, it takes strength to push that aside, to be the hero and to fight only for the good. Now when I say hero, this also includes everyday heroes, something that we all have the capacity to be. So if you are going to be relentless in your pursuit of something let it be for the good, let it be hope, let it be charitable, let it be to help your fellow man. For in that goodness, which is God breathed and Spirit led, you will find fulfillment.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” -Galatians 6:9

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Impatient Hero

Anakin Skywalker can be considered a hero right? I mean in the end he was able to do something pretty amazing, defeat evil. Wow! Pretty awesome huh?! But, he struggled with many things, he had faults and he made a TON of mistakes. One of the things that he struggled with was patience. Most of us have heard a sermon based on the Bible passage that discusses the fruits of the spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 states, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.”

Anakin didn’t feel like the Jedi council was giving him the opportunities he thought he deserved on the time line he thought they needed to be on. Because of this he began listening to someone who kept Anakin thinking that the council was indeed passing him up for a reason. Of course we know what happens there. Obi Wan told Anakin -the last time they talked before he turned into Darth Vader- that he needed to be patient and that one day he will become a Jedi Master. He just needed to be patient. Being patient can be tough and it takes the other fruits of spirit to make it work.

This week my patience was tested in handling my daughter’s nervousness about her ballet class, something she had been looking forward to for over a month. While there she was too nervous and overwhelmed to dance with the other kids and she would tell us that she thought it was too hard, so she didn’t even try. She has this attitude with other things when they get too hard like, reading, Mario Kart, and board games. We keep encouraging her in all those situations because we don’t want her give up on herself. I knew that if she just tried she would like it and probably be pretty good.

So everyday we drove the 15 minutes to a near by town, so she could sit there and do nothing. And everyday we would tell her that she could do it if she tried. Boy howdy, let me tell you it took a LOT of patience! Mommy wasn’t really enjoying getting up early, getting two kids out the door, and driving 15 minutes everyday so she could sit there. When Friday came I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to go, but I had a sitter lined up for my son and I didn’t want to give on my daughter. On the way there I kept telling her she could do it and she did! She danced and she was pretty good, on top of that she had fun. Guess who was there to see patience pay off? Darth Vader himself (that is her stuffed Darth Vader) and he was so proud of his favorite girl.

Patience isn’t easy but so worth it when it pays off. Anakin struggled with patience in the same way that we all do. Don’t give in to impatience and take the short cut. Anakin did that and lost any opportunity to be a Jedi Master. If I had taken that short cut I wouldn’t have seen my daughter dance and seen her so proud of herself. Little did we know then that, less than a year later she would be performing a solo on stage for the dress rehearsal for her second recital.

Let your actions be fruitful and as Galatians 5:25 says “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit.”