Do Not Bet the Death Star...
So I was sitting next to this man at a seminar and he told a great story about his two boys. It had to do with Legos, Star Wars and parenting. Years earlier, he had bought the boys the Millennium Falcon Lego set. And over the years it had gotten broken down and lie in pieces in bins, some pieces lost forever and others reassembled into other ideas his children had...
So one day, the boys came to him and said, “We want the Death Star lego set.”
Dad, being no fool, quickly said no because that set is pricey! And look what happened to the Millennium Falcon, it was gone forever in a scattering of lego pieces everywhere.
Undaunted his boys continued to beg, plead, threaten and finally arrived at the deal making part of all parent/child conversations...
Then his one child, the youngest of the pair, said the following:
“If I can go put the Millennium Falcon back together, then will you buy me the Death Star?”
With a cockiness that is reserved for all parents about to get their comeuppance, the father said, “Absofuckinglutely.”
The boys took off and were not to be seen for hours. The older child tired of the laborious work and went on to do other things that were less intense and time consuming. But the younger one, that kid kept at it. And in a few days, he had rebuilt the Millennium Falcon...and was now just awaiting the mail to deliver the seven lego pieces that could not be found. He had gone online and found a place to order the exact pieces he needed to complete the set...
By week’s end and a few meals missed, the kid had reassembled from the lego scrap heap the Millennium Falcon in all its original glory and splendor!
Good old dad was flummoxed. I mean he did bet the Death Star...and he lost.
So out they went to buy the Death Star and inside of no time at all, the kid had built the fucking Death Star!
Now if your kids never were into legos, then this might not impress you at all. But if you were ever held hostage by a six year old on a lego addled hypermania then you totally get this! Not only are those sets incredibly expensive, they are frustrating, confusing, time consuming and for those of us with children like my son, jet fuel on the fire of frustration that lies just below the surface of his skin...
I LOVE this story. I love everything about it. I love the cocksureness that the father bet the Death Star and I love even more that this boy showed him up good! I love the perseverance and dedication and the intensity of thought and focus. I am in awe of that kid. And I can also see why that kid is struggling with life...because life lived on willpower alone is miserable. I know. I have been there.
I have forced circles into squares and did a fairly good job of selling it as workable. I have pushed, shoved, manipulated, lied, cajoled, demanded and driven my will into existence. I have done this a lot. And I have been totally successful on many fronts except the happiness front. Because what I have learned about life is that when I am hard driving like that I can produce results but I can’t really enjoy them...it is kind of like drinking - I can control it or enjoy it. One or the other, but not both. If I am controlling it, it sucks. And if I am enjoying the police are being called and someone is going to jail.
And that is what I landed on for this kid. I wanted to tell him what I have learned since my almost life ending bout with self will run riot...that it doesn’t work. I mean it can get you places but once you get there, there is always some other place you think you need to go, some other high that you will need to find because that is all there is to your life. One acquisition after another, one marshaling of will into the next until you seriously hate your life and most importantly yourself.
And I see it within my own kid. This incessant need to force solutions. To come up with strategies and plans. To make deal after deal with the universe, bending it and shaping it to your will. And I can see how miserable he is. And I can see how futile the strategy and I can also see how when you are all caught up in it you only know harder, faster, better.
And I have learned, through painful, heart shredding lessons that the best way to go through life is to take this almighty willpower and begin to use it rightly. And that is to get up every single day and align my will with universal will, or God’s will, or whatever fucking other will there is that isn’t mine. And that is where the peace is. That is where life’s enjoyment can be found. And it isn’t fleeting and dependent upon lego sets and other acquisitions. It is fun. It is free. And it is abundant...no manipulation required. And fuck, is it a better way to live!
So I have learned not to bet the Death Star against anyone with a will like that. Because I will be shelling out hundreds every damn time. And more importantly, I will help an addict perpetuate their life consuming delusion that they can wrest satisfaction from this life if they can only manage well. If they can align life to suit them, to make them content by getting what they want...except the joke is always on the addict. In the end, they are never satisfied with what they have, and so they pursue more into the gates of insanity and death. And how could it be other wise if you are betting the Death Star? I mean the name kind of gives away the ending.
I pray for my son and this man’s son that they have a different ending. That they are able to be reached before it is too late. That they are hit with that still, quiet voice that is known to me now as Divinity, that says, you are ok, right now just as you are, nothing else is needed or required. You do NOT have to control life...because you fucking can’t and you will die trying. And only in the movies does the Death Star get destroyed, in real life, you become your own Death Star and destroy yourself.