And we’re back.
I took a week off from blogging because I’m going through a trying season right now. Nothing too terrible but it was nice to take some time off. I’m still not completely through my season but there are some exciting things happening at TheChristianNerd this week, of which you’ll be made aware on Friday. In order to get ready for those exciting things I thought I’d get back to blogging.
One of the best parts about my current season is the people who have encouraged me. I have a tremendous wife as well as tremendous friends and family who have supported me, loved me and encouraged me. They have set an amazing example of what it means to be encouraging. If I needed more examples, though, I could look to these nerdy encouragers.
When first thinking about encouraging figures from a galaxy far, far away, a seven-foot Wookie may not be the first person to come to mind. Obi-Wan definitely encouraged Luke and Padmé was a constant encouragement to Anakin. I contend, though, that Chewie was just as encouraging as anyone else. He encouraged Han to save Luke at the Battle of Yavin. He gave Luke the biggest bear/Wookie hug at Echo Base. He told Han everything was going to be all right in Jabba’s dungeon. Sure, Chewie would be more than happy to rip a droid’s arms out of its sockets, but he’d probably feel bad about it. Other than putting up with some shedding, I can’t imagine a better encourager than Chewie. He could encourage me and protect me all at the same time.
Who wouldn’t want a friend like Sam? A friend who would be willing to walk to hell and back again? Sam is one of my favorite characters in the Lord of the Rings. He’s not heroic like Aragorn. He’s not powerful like Gandalf. He’s not even chosen like Frodo. Sam is just Sam: a good friend willing to do whatever it takes to encourage and support the ring-bearer. When Frodo wanted to go off by himself, Sam was there. When Frodo turned his back on Sam, Sam came back. When Frodo wasn’t able to walk any further, Sam carried him. We could all use a Sam in our lives and we should all strive to be a Sam to someone else. We should also strive to be like Sean Astin, the actor who played Sam. Astin had an iconic role in The Goonies, eight years later he had an iconic role in Rudy and eight years after that he began his iconic turn as Sam in the Lord of the Rings. If I can’t be awesome all the time, I’ll take being really awesome every eight years.
My friends and I used to make fun of Counselor Deanna Troi. On a ship with Worf, Data and Captain Picard, an empath with big hair who always talked about emotions seemed a little unnecessary. “Oh no, it’s the Borg! Quick, call Counselor Troi to tell us how we’re feeling.” As I’ve gotten older, though, and as I’ve been going through this season, I can see the need to be more in touch with our feelings. Our feelings often tell us something that our brains don’t know or are trying to ignore. Very often, though, we don’t know what we’re feeling, which would make Counselor Troi’s empathy incredibly valuable. Her ability to encourage others can be clearly seen in her interactions with Lieutenant Barclay. She helped Barclay understand his feelings, come out of his shell and become a contributing member of the Enterprise’s crew. And that’s good news for us nerds. Because while we like to think that we’d be on the bridge with the captain, there’s a good chance we’d be awkward and fumbling around in Engineering with Barclay.
We all need some encouragement now and then. Unfortunately these encouragers don’t exist and, if they did, come from worlds far removed from our own. Instead of relying on fictional characters for encouragement, we should surround ourselves with friends and family who will love us, encourage us and support us when we need it most.
And we should also make every effort to be that type of person, Wookie hugs and all.
Who are some other nerdy encouragers?