A Jedi’s Life

Last summer, after Michael Bark located me on social media and invited me back into the online Jedi community, I found myself musing on the question of Jedi Knight as a vocation.

It takes time to determine if one has a vocation.  In monastic orders – or ministry – there is a testing period of at least a year, if not more.  Sometimes, before you’re even allowed to enter the novice stage, there is a period of frustrated waiting before you are even allowed through the gate.  

Why?  Because this level of commitment — usually to a community and to service — is difficult.  The trial period is used to determine if this calling is something so much a part of who you are that you can’t be anything else and yet be truly yourself.  In a sense, it can be the lesser struggle at times; at other times, it is the greatest joy.  You only have to read an autobiography of a nun or monk in order to get a sense of this.  Or realize that you told yourself you were going to train as friends go out for an evening without you.  

Yes, the training can be wonderful too, once you get there and get started working with your other group of friends.  Or it can be one of those nights where you are all left feet and frustrated at the end … wondering why you gave up a nice night in the name of maintaining discipline.  

There are few jobs anymore that are considered vocations.  Medicine is one.  Teaching is another.  Like Jedi knights, both can come with a title.  But, from experience, I can tell you that the thrill of being called “Professor” wore off early in my first semester of teaching.  After that point, you really do fall back on something else to keep you going and living up to your principles as best you can.  The vocation – the calling – carries you …. not the title.   

Ultimately, I keep on being a Jedi Knight because I cannot do otherwise. As a student of mine student put it some years ago:

… is there any other way? To the true Jedi, his own way is so obvious, so natural, that he cannot comprehend any other possibility … and for yourself, you live the Jedi Way, the Only Way.

Mark Lipovrovsky, Blue Group, Jedi Temple

So, this month … what there is left of it …. I am considering an aspect of living as a Jedi: service.

As I wander around the various sites and schools, I hope that there is more service activity than meets the casual eye. For, while training and self-improvement is an important part of being a Jedi, using our knowledge and skills for others is – in my opinion – an important aspect of being a Knight.

I think one of the problems is that most people see “Jedi” as a title. Being a Jedi means putting other people’s problems before your own. It means sacrificing getting things you “want” in order to give someone else something they “need”. It’s knowing that you are not perfect and knowing that you will make mistakes, but taking responsibility for your actions and being accountable for everything you do. It means helping everyone, even those you don’t like, when they are in need (a doctor would save the life of his worst enemy because he has sworn to do so).

Naya
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Barbara Z. Johnson

Barbara Z. Johnson is a professor of computer science at an undisclosed small, liberal arts college and also has taught in education and media arts/game development departments at several universities. She is also a sci-fi/fantasy geek who researches the educational uses of video-games, fan-fiction, and online simulations. Currently, she is researching science education in Minecraft.

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