To the Younglings, Episode II
Forgiveness, you will need.
When we left off, Obi-Wan was in the cargo bay, reflecting when Roken walked in. “You don’t have to do this, you know. We can still fix the drive.” He tries to convenience Obi-Wan to stay by saying things they both know aren’t true. Obi-Wan won’t be deterred, “I have to go.” Roken then replies, “It’s not about us, is it? You want to do it. It’s about you and him.” As Roken turns to leave, Obi-Wan says, “There are not many leaders left. People follow you, don’t stop.”
There’s a fine line between guiding others to safety and leading them to their death. Obi-Wan understands that a leader cannot run; his choice to separate and lead Vader away wasn’t about him and Vader. It was about understanding he was the only one with the power to stop him. He needed to stop being afraid and stand up for those he was leading.
Vader gets in his ship and follows Obi-Wan to the surface. Vader exits his ship, “Have you come to destroy me, Obi-Wan?” Obi-Wan replies, “I will do what I must.” Vader thrusts his saber, “Then you will die.” Their lightsabers glow for battle. Back and forth they go, the crash of the sabers ringing. Obi-Wan gets Vader near a rock structure; using the force he attempts to move it onto him, but Vader stops him. He says, “Your strength has returned, but your weakness remains.” Vader gets Obi-Wan on his heels and moves the earth from under him, saying, “And that is why you will always lose.” Obi-Wan falls below, and Vader towers over him and starts burying him. “Did you truly think you could defeat me?” Vader walks away and leaves Obi-Wan to die.
The strength that Vader is eluding to is his ability to focus, and his weakness is his empathy for others. It splinters his focus, leaving him vulnerable to attack. Some might use this argument to discourage step two of my leadership advice. Some believe that they can rationalize their way to success. Isolate themselves and decide what is best for everyone without being part of any group. This is not leadership. That is authoritarianism.
Obi-Wan is trapped, and the negative thoughts are closing in on him; he’s only a few minutes away from being completely crushed. He turns his focus away from the negative and to the positive. He thinks about Leia and Luke and about everything he is trying to preserve. He turns his weakness into a strength, and using the force, he explodes the rocks above him. Their love lifted him up to the surface, where he finds Vader for their final showdown of the episode. Obi-Wan's strength is now on full display as he lifts hundreds of boulders and pelts them at Vader. Obi-Wan dives at Vader slicing through his helmet. He can see his student’s face; he calls out, “Anakin?” Taking a deep breath, Vader lifts his head to see his humanity. “Anakin’s gone. I am what remains.” Obi-Wan shows his weakness and his strength, and with tears in his eyes, he says, “I’m Sorry. I’m Sorry, Anakin, for all of it.”
While learning to build yourself, your relationships, and your community, you’ll learn to forgive and be forgiven. This will give you the strength to do what you know in your heart is right because it will be confirmed by a large group of people who you trust and love. Leaders cannot be made by machines, and leaders cannot be isolated. Leaders must have a strong foundation of knowledge and communication and be rooted in the community they lead. Don’t sell yourself. Build yourself.
There are not many leaders left. If people follow you, don’t stop. You’re the future. You’re what needs to survive.
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