This is the way

I live in a family of nerds. We love books, science, history, art, and music. We, at least my husband and I, are usually pretty clueless about what is popular or current. We don’t listen to pop radio. We don’t watch much TV. We prefer a museum over sporting event any day. Nerds.

However, one thing that is current that we are slightly obsessed with is the Disney+ series, The Mandalorian (ok, I think that still makes us nerds). For those unfamiliar with the premise of the show, the lead character is a member an ethnic group, more like a secretive cultic people, who share a common creed and planet, Mandalore. The Mandalorians are a nameless collective who exhibit incredible loyalty to each other and those within their care. Imperative to the Mandalorian creed is the care of foundlings (displaced or orphaned children). Most Mandalorians were foundlings; that is how they came to be Mandalorians. Therefore, they vow to protect, care for, and return foundlings, with a creedal call: “This is the way.”

What if one has to forego other commitments to fulfill this responsibility? “This is the way.”

What if returning the foundling is dangerous? “This is the way.”

What if it requires your life? “This is the way.”

As I approach Advent and the beginning of this year of practice, I think it is important to think broader than a wreath with some candles. What is my creed? What do I believe to be most true? What do I do, because it is who I am?

I love, because I was first loved.

I fight for freedom, because I have been a prisoner (and sometimes, still am).

I listen, because I know the joy and healing that come from being heard.

I accept, because I have been on the outside and known the excruciating pain of otherness, and also the grace of embrace.

I celebrate others, because (with a smile, an affirmation, a hug, an invitation) I have been celebrated, and it is has given me courage to be myself.

This is my practice. This is my life. I do, because it is who I am. This is the way.

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