In the original Star Wars movie… A New Hope… we meet Luke Skywalker on the planet Tatooine. His is a simple life with Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, tending animals and building androids… Though Luke dreams of more exciting adventures, he is reluctant to join the Rebellion when Obi-Wan invites him to become a Jedi… preferring instead to return to the quiet uninterrupted life he was living before.
Not satisfied with a small life
But we see from the get-go that Luke is an intense young man and will not remain satisfied in a small life. To make matters worse, he returns home to find that the Galactic Empire has killed his aunt and uncle and destroyed his house. There is no choice now but to move forward.
We come up against the same kinds of circumstances in our own lives… they are the ones that challenge us to move out of our small comfort zones and into a bigger / chaotic / frenetic / uncontrollable world. It is hard to choose to go there… much easier to return to the quiet uninterrupted life that we know and love.
St. Gregory of Nyssa Wisdom: Sin happens whenever we refuse to keep growing.
Holiness will always stretch us beyond our small comfort zones. There’s just no way around it. God will use everything in our lives to teach us something about something… to make us grow… to stretch us farther than we ever thought we could stretch. Because God has to undo our illusions secretly… otherwise we wouldn’t let God in at all.
After millions more frames of film, Luke learns that Darth Vader is his father… and that makes Luke’s head totally explode. He cannot begin to comprehend the gravity of the thought. This is the stuff that liminal space is made of… it is the dark threshold of inner transformation.
You can live your whole life without ever entering any corner of liminal space… but you’ll stay stuck. Dreams will go unfulfilled / life will feel half-lived / spirit will be stagnant / soul will feel stymied. It’s a choice you can make or not make.
When God works on us
God works on us when we are not watching and not in perfect control… that’s the only way God can… otherwise we constipate the Spirit. We move forward in ways we don’t understand and when we finally arrive at some unknown destination, we’re not really sure how we got there. God doesn’t seem to care who gets the credit as long as we keep growing.