Anyone who is or ever has been a Star Wars fan knows Yoda’s stern command to Luke Skywalker: “There is no try; only DO!”
Well, Yoda old buddy, that may work for Jedi knights, but not always for us regular people. Sometimes you have to try before you can do. Say, for example, when my dad taught me how to ride a bike for the first time. He made it look so easy that I didn’t even hear his advice to take it slow–I grabbed the bike, hopped on and promptly fell over. After that, I was much more willing to listen, and try again.
Trying is the first step to doing, Yoda’s advice notwithstanding:
- If I didn’t try to teach myself guitar and banjo when I was a teen, I wouldn’t be taking ukulele lessons now.
- If I never tried out for a major part in a play in high school, I would not be the me I am today. Back then, I was headed down the wrong path, and the school plays saved me.
- If I never married my first husband, I wouldn’t be married to the Crankee Yankee (my current and last and best husband) now.
There’s a story I read a long time ago that got me thinking about trying things out first before doing them. In the story, a father presented his daughter with a lovely little string of pearls on her tenth birthday. She loved them, and wore them every day. She took good care of them, and each night she put them away carefully in their special silk box.
Two years later when she was about to celebrate her twelfth birthday, her father asked her to give him back the string of pearls. She cried and begged him not to make her give them up; she loved them so. He asked her to think about it, and told her that she would be much happier if she gave him back her treasured pearls.
She thought about it for two days. It hurt her heart, but she knew that her father would never lie or disappoint her. So the next day, holding back her tears, she placed the silk box containing her pearls in her father’s hand.
He smiled at her, and said, “Now I will show you why this will make you happy.” He gave her a small box wrapped in pink paper and tied with a lacy white bow. When she opened the box, there was a beautiful string of luminous white pearls inside, strung with a lovely golden clasp. She gasped, and her father said, “The first string of pearls I gave you was pretty, but they weren’t real pearls. I watched as you took such good care of them and appreciated them. You are now old enough and responsible enough to wear the real thing.”
If we don’t try something first, it’s likely we won’t ever do it. This is what our lives are for: trying and then doing.
We try our best to live well, treat others fairly and kindly, love our families, friends, pets, neighbors, and reach out to the world in our own way. Sometimes in our lives we may be asked to give up something that we care about; only to receive something better. Which we wouldn’t get at all, if not for trying first.
Take that, Yoda!