This guest post was written by Rese Hood, M.Div., D.Min. in process (Gordon-Conwell) and with her kind warrior permission.
I spent most of yesterday alternately in shock and real grief as the news of Carrie Fisher’s passing became a non-stop headline in every platform of media. I couldn’t have explained it for most of the day but it finally came to me.
If it weren’t for Princess Leia/General Leia in Star Wars, I probably would have kept trying to kill myself until I succeeded. That character and that actress united in such a way that for the first time in the twisted universe that was my world, a very ordinary girl like me could emerge from wreckage and ruin a heroine, a fighter and a leader. And it was not just okay to be like her, it was essential.
When I was a sophomore in HS, I read a book called Star Wars with this kickass heroine princess. My friend Bill F. saw me reading it and told me it was a movie. (I had moved to Hawaii that summer when SW came out, so I was occupied with other things.) I am probably the only SW geek who saw the film because of the book.
Seeing the film changed my life. It was the first time I had ever seen anyone like me – smart, sassy, sarcastic, strong-willed and a natural leader – and a girl with brown hair (often oddly styled) and brown eyes as a hero. No capes, no super powers – her Force skills only barely hinted at. Nothing in the Galaxy could stop her or break her. As the other books (always released a few days prior to the film) and the movies followed, she grew stronger, rescued, led, loved and crushed evil. Even realizing her father was the most evil person in the galaxy and tried to destroy her personally couldn’t stop her. (I never kissed my brother though…EWWW!)
When The Force Awakens opened last year at the end of my son’s relationship with the other evil force in the universe – ha! – and I watched an older, wiser but stronger General Leia deal with the estrangement of her son and husband but stay focused on the larger objective of destroying the latest incarnation of evil, I was encouraged.
Somewhere between the first trilogy and the prequels (ugh!) and the reboot, plus the numerous books in various storylines, I found out that I could be reborn, made real and lasting royalty and My True and Good Father gave me the implements of battle and trusts me to lead. The Galaxy needs his Warrior Daughters – without them too much is lost. And, as I learned through Eowyn in Lord of the Rings, some evil can only be destroyed by a woman. (Another royal warrior woman…theme?)
I am literally still breathing because of Leia and Carrie Fisher. She gave me hope I could be someone more than I had been told. Those fictional narratives prepared the ground for the Great Story of which I am in reality a part. In which we all are a part as the commissioning of our Doctor of Ministry cohort last summer by Dr. Alice Mathews proved. Why that should hit me so hard at the moment was a mystery to me then.
Now I know why.