“in this ordinary, everyday existence, there is a sense that something is not right, the world is incomplete.”

The Fields We Know

We first meet Luke Skywalker, from Star Wars part IV, in his ordinary world. He is the extraterrestrial equivalent of a farm-boy, working for his Aunt and Uncle on their farm . His day is filled with the routine of farm work and he looks forward to the moments he can hang out with his friends and dream of greater things.

Bilbo Baggins, (The Hobbit) has the easy life of a country gentleman. His day is also one of routine and ordinary-ness. He appears to be content but stirring within his soul is a wanderlust, a desire for adventure.

Alex Rogan (The Last Starfighter) lives in a trailer park with his mother. His ordinary day consists of going to school, helping his elderly neighbors with small tasks, and spending time with his girlfriend. But he dreams of going to college, leaving the trailer park, and achieving something great.

Discontentment

Hero stores usually start out this way. We meet the hero in his ordinary world. Often screenwriters will give the hero a wound in order for us to sympathize with the character. Sometimes the wound is physical, sometimes it is emotional, but always, the wound is a source of discontentment.

The ordinary world is where we begin. But in this ordinary, everyday existence, there is a sense that something is not right, the world is incomplete. Luke Skywalker knows that there is a rebellion going on, “out there,” a fight for good against an evil empire. He longs to be a part of it. He can’t wait to enter the Flight Academy and become a pilot, joining his friends in the good fight. He is wounded by the loss of his parents who were killed by the agents of the empire.

Bilbo’s wound is more subtle, because he denies he has one. His life is ordered and predictable, which is, as he tells himself, just as he wants it. But he is not as content as he appears. There is something about him that sets him apart form his neighbors. There is a desire in his heart to see the wonders of the world (the mysterious elves live large in his imagination), but he tells himself that this is not the way of Hobbits. Hobbits are simple, quiet folk.

And Alex feels stuck and unable to escape his ordinary world. He knows in his heart he can achieve great things, if only he gets a chance, a break. But that lucky break seems to be elusive and unattainable.

The Spirit’s Unease

In our spiritual journey, we begin the same way, in our ordinary, everyday world. But like the heroes of our favorite stories, we begin to sense that something is not right, something is out of place. It may be a sense that we can do more with our lives, that there is a wrong that we can perhaps help to make right. It may be a yearning to be more than what we think we are. It is an uneasiness of the spirit that comes from our wounded nature.

We all suffer the same spiritual wound, we are all separated from God. We have been exiled from our true home and denied our birthright. This exile has caused a deep spiritual wound that runs deep through all of humanity. It is a wound that causes this restlessness of our hearts.

“My heart is restless, until it rests in You,” – St. Augustine.

Saint Augustine recognized our restlessness of spirit, and its cure. The only thing that will satisfy our longing, the only thing that will give rest to our restlessness and help us to discover all that we are capable of, is to answer God’s call.

God is calling us all the time. He calls us out of our everyday world and beckons us to embark on a grand adventure to discover who we truly are. God calls us to venture beyond the fields we know.

If you have a growing sense that there is something not right with your world, that there is more you can do, more that you can be, this is the unease of your Spirit, longing to answer the Call, to find fulfillment in God’s purpose for you. That call can come to you in various ways. For our movie heroes, it often comes from a Herald.

The Hero’s Journey of the Spirit

© 2018 Lawrence Klimecki

(This article originally appeared at deaconlawrence.org)

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