Tag Archives: Dobiwan

Episode XVI: Encased in Carbonite

Episode XVI

Encased in Carbonite

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

 The Foda’s take: The only thing I disagree with here is that it sounds like you will only have one moment like this that will stand out from all the rest. But it seems to be part of the human experience to know this moment many, many times. The smart ones use it not as a negative, but as a marker to show how far you’ve come, and how far you’ll go.

 Let me paint a picture for you. It’s the end of Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back. Han Solo is led to the isolation chamber, tired and beaten, resigned to his fate. He is slowly lowered into the cavern, white smoke billowing out around him. Leia leans forward and blurts out: I love you! Han gives her a half smile and replies simply: I know. Valves spin, mechanisms whir, and he is frozen, encased in a golden block of carbonite.

Okay, let’s talk about this for a minute. First off, how hard would it have been for him to say three words instead of two? I mean, really- I love you— I know. Seriously???!!!! (Although it did make for a super cute novelty mug I gave my husband Mandalf for Christmas.) But that’s not the point. The point is that just because Han happened to be friends with Luke Skywalker, he was trapped in a metal cube for months. And this led me to reflect on how isolating it can be to feel trapped in a body or a life that just won’t give.

All people feel lonely; that’s nothing new. But isolation is different. Isolation is something that feels like it happens to you- a separation between you and the rest of the world. When you have a chronic illness or personal trauma, it often feels like the world goes on without you, while you’re stuck, much like Han, in a block of cement. It makes us feel ostracized, different, like the wasabi shmushed to the side of every sushi platter, just hoping to be added into the mix. (Mmmm Sushi. Yum.)

It’s no surprise why humans who live with this kind of isolation have such a hard time with it. In prison, solitary confinement is considered cruel and unusual- the worst punishment we can devise for the living- existence without human contact. And yet people with chronic illness spend so much of their time chained to their house this way… and they did nothing wrong. Infuriating, no? We all just want our Princess Leia to come and rescue us; push a few buttons and let the carbonite casing melt away. But often, try as we might, wish as we do, no one is going to save us- and we will reconcile ourselves to finding worth and wisdom in being forced onto the road less traveled.

So where’s my silver lining in all this? I’d like to say that I’ve found a way to make this kind of isolation from the world less painful- that I’m no longer bothered by the fact that the world moves on while I can’t- but that’s not true. I have, however, found ways to feel like I’m contributing to the world, even when I can’t leave my couch. I’ve learned how to create a website. I’ve written, I’ve created, I’ve taught myself calligraphy, I’ve learned how to make jewelry. I’ve named all my plants. (Don’t judge me there. I will sic my snake plant on you. Whose name, by the way, is Daisy.)

But I think the most important thing about being put into proverbial carbonite is that it’s given me the rare opportunity to sit and think and decide what is truly important. I like to think that when this time in my life has passed, I will be strong, and fearless, and wise beyond my young years, because I will have survived true trials and tribulations.

So although I would love for Princess Leia to come and rescue me too… I’m just going to have to do it myself.

Just so long as I’m not actually big eared, wrinkly, and green by then.

In closing, since we started with a F. Scott Fitzgerald quote from Gatsby, I will leave you with the same. As my father Dobiwan is so fond of saying:

“No matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And then one fine morning-— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” 

 Here’s to your one fine morning.


The Foda

Episode XIV: The Small Things: Part III

Episode XIV

The Small Things: Part III

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “Even in the most peaceful surroundings, the angry heart finds quarrel. Even in the most quarrelsome surroundings, the grateful heart finds peace.”

Doe Zantamata

 The Foda’s take: Yup, I second that.

 Hello fabulous friends of Foda! Welcome to the final installment of the small things miniseries on finding blessings and peace in life’s little lifts. After my last post on finding 5 simple ways to bring joy into your day, I was contacted by a very wise, very honest man. Let’s call him… Dobiwan.

Dobiwan shared with me words of honesty, beauty, and heartbreaking reality about what it’s like to be the support system of a loved one going through a longterm battle. I spend a lot of time in this galaxy delving into how to get through our own battles with grace… but what about the person who stands by you? The one who has the power to walk out the door, leave all the pain behind, but chooses to stay, knowing his (or her)  shoulder will be lent upon, leaving him lopsided and unbalanced. What about the people behind the people? After all, when you have a chronic illness, your wings have been clipped for you- you didn’t choose it, and you do all you can to build your mind and your body up so you can one day fly again. But…the people who love us… they clip their own wings using scissors from their own hand. They choose to fight, to stay, to learn how to love someone whose whole existence is likely becoming redefined.

Today I’d like to honor these people. People like Dobiwan and Mandalf who don’t have the illness, but still have all the pain, all the stress, and all the guilt. Guilt that their loved ones can’t walk away, but they can. Guilt when they feel happiness, then immediately feel like they shouldn’t while their loved ones are suffering so. Guilt that there’s nothing they can do but be there and offer what little comfort they can through the small things- letting her choose the movie, picking up his favorite dinner, staying in when they can’t go out.

And on behalf of people like me who are fighting their way back- I want you to know, I see you. And while you may think these small things aren’t enough, I need you to know just how much they mean. That phone call out of the blue from the old friend? Touching. The butternut squash soup from the sister who wishes she could do more? Warms the belly and the soul. The father who would go to the ends of the earth to find a Tibetan singing bowl just because he heard you mention once how peaceful it sounds? Priceless. The mother who talks about handbags and hairstyles with you when she knows you need a bit of normal? Comforting. And the husband who loves to explore and experience but stays home instead, and agrees when you ask to watch yet another romantic comedy? That means something. It’s small. It’s not going to cure me or fix me or take away all my pain. But it makes all the difference, because at least I know I’m not alone- even when I feel like I am.

So thank you to all the loved ones out there like Dobiwan who are just trying to do everything they can for the people they care for. What you do may feel small- but as we’re learning, it’s the small things that count.


The Foda