Is the force with you?

On a recent flight, I decided to watch the movie, The Last Jedi.

During one scene, Luke Skywalker dispels a long held myth about “the force.”  Over many films the assumption was that the force was something that one possessed, an internal feeling or power that was universally good.  Here Luke explains to the young Rey that the force is actually a connection we have with our world and with each other.
 
Later on that same flight, I was reading the book, The Plateau.  It tells the true story or a remarkable French village, school and people that have historically provided a safe haven for children during times of great need – from those escaping the Holocaust to present day Syria.
 
The book is a testament to moral courage and the ties that bind us.  It is, in essence, a living example of the force being with us.
 
It was against this backdrop having just experienced these two pieces of culture, that a situation arose where the force was clearly not with me and my own courage lacked.
 
Upon our decent, the young woman next to me was visibly upset and anxious. With each bout of turbulence her hand shook, reaching nervously in the air to grab the seat in front of her.  Yet never actually touching it.   Only reaching out.  Each shake and bump unnerved her more as her hand twitched and reached out again and again and again. As the plane descended and her fear elevated, I did nothing.  I did not offer a calming word or even a knowing smile.  I did not offer to show her the pendant that featured a picture of my three children that I held tight in my hand as I always do during take off and landing.  I did nothing, all the while knowing that she was suffering.
 
In the scheme of things this may not seem like much.  It was just routine turbulence and I’ve experienced worse.  But for her it was very real and obviously upsetting.
 
I could give myself a pass and make excuses – like I’m naturally introverted or didn’t feel comfortable intruding in the emotional space of a young woman.  But that would be BS.
 
The reality is that I failed in a moment where a small act of kindness could have brought relief to someone struggling.
 
The force was not with me and I did not extend it to her.
 
I hope I do better next time and when your turn comes, may the force be with you.

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