A reminder of loss with every victory

Something got me thinking while I was watching The Mandalorian.

Our main character, Mando, watches the welder in his Mandalorian village cast a new shoulder plate from the Beskar metal he received as a “retainer payment” by his contact at the bar. As the welder hammers this new piece of armor into place, the clangs of her hammer against the metal take his mind back to the gunfire and/or explosions heard in his flashbacks to his childhood. We are transported to his memory where his parents place him in what looks like an air-raid shelter during a battle in an urban setting. It is assumed that someone from the Mandalorian tribe finds him and he is raised on their planet with their customs. We assume, as the episodes go on, that we will learn more about his past through these flashbacks.

These flashbacks have, so far, all taken place in the welder’s shop. As Mando earns more raw material from his missions, the welder creates new pieces of armor. Again, each time she hammers a new piece, he flashes back to his war-torn country of origin.

As Mando progresses in his victories as a mercenary, it opens up another part of his past. Part of it is a clever narrative device to tell his back-story, but another part of it resonates with me.

As I go through life and see what I’ve gained: an education, a career, a spouse, a stepson, and a son, the more I see what I lost. I lost the chance to bond with a parent from day one. I lost experiences like someone celebrating me rolling over, sitting up, etc. that most kids experience in infancy. I didn’t have proper medical care until I came to the US.

I am grateful for the victories I have in life, but as I reflect on those, the losses become real. As I tell my stepson that I know he works hard at school through his mild learning-disability, the loss of having the burden of feeling that my own disability caused mother pain is highlighted. As my toddler went through his first 18 months of life, every hug and every kiss he had since day 1 reminded me that I did not have that until my mom took me in to my forever home.

Yes, I move forward, but I can’t escape my past. Do I let it wear me down, or do I let God reshape and transform the pieces so I can move forward, accomplish more, and move toward being more whole?


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