I Like…Lightsabers!

I’m not afraid to admit that I love Star Wars; I’m what you’d call a “fanboy”  As such I happen to have a few plastic lightsbers amongst other collectables from that Galaxy Far, Far, Away.  Recently, I finished a book called I Like Giving, a collection of stories about people willing to give in ways great and small to affect the lives of those around them.  I see it as a great way to make the world around you smaller than it currently is.  What’s more is that I think the giving can have even deeper meaning when someone finds a way to give out of who they have been created to be, to give out of the interests they have been gifted with.  Here is one such story, about making the world small via one lightsaber.

A few years ago I spoke at a leadership week at Lake Ann Camp in Michigan to a hand-picked group of high school students.  During the week I spent with these students – carrying the green lightsaber that I always brought along – I met a young man named Josiah.  A year before I met him, Josiah came to camp with a fully written suicide note in his pocket.  He had made a deal with Jesus:  If Josiah didn’t have proof that his life mattered, that someone cared, he’d act on that note.  At the end of the week, Josiah and his counselor got up at the bonfire, told his story to an audience of 500+ and he threw the note into the fire, saying that he didn’t need it anymore; he knew his life was valuable because his counselor had given of himself to show Josiah his inherent worth as one created in God’s image.

When I met him a year later, I knew Josiah’s story, I just never expected to meet him.  When I realized who Josiah was, I instantly made a choice to spend time that week getting to know him and invest in him what I could.  I pulled him aside and talk with him about the similarities between our lives – having both confronted Death up close – and the power of his own story to encourage others and point them towards Jesus.  Later that afternoon, as the students visited downtown Traverse City for the Cherry Festival, I explained to Josiah that might encounter someone who needed to hear his story, someone whose life might change because of it.  At dinner that night Josiah told the story of Max, a young man he met in Traverse City who was struggling with suicide.  Josiah shared his own experiences with Max – his struggle and what Jesus did for him – and Max came to faith in Jesus that day; a life changed, indeed.   After Josiah told the story, he came over and gave me a huge hug, and I cried.  Someone I’ll never meet is on a much better path today because I invested time and encouragement in the boy who went on to touch a life I couldn’t.  When the camp speaker got wind of the story, he shared it with a full house on the last night of camp, inspiring many to consider their own lives; all of this, ultimately, because of a camp counselor who helped pull a teen back from the edge.   Before the week at camp ended, I had Josiah kneel and I knighted him with the lightsaber and passed on to him the object that symbolized being a “Yoda” in the lives of others, explaining that he had the same role to play in lives I would never meet. Josiah steps into this role every time he shares his story and a plastic toy became the catalyst for a lasting friendship.

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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