Everything I learned about friendship came from Han Solo.
The first time I saw Empire, I was six. It was 1980, and my mother and her boyfriend took me to the Almeda theater in Houston. I do not think that theater even exists anymore.
That was when I heard these two lines exchanged.
“Sir, the temperature’s dropping too rapidly.”
“That’s right. And my friends out in it.”
Han Solo, a scoundrel, leapt up onto his Tauntaun
“Your Tauntaun’ll freeze before you reach the first marker.”
“Then I’ll see you in hell!”
So I sit back and I think about this. Han was willing to sacrifice his own life to save the life of his friend. What does that show about his character? He is loyal, loving, and willing to give it all for those he cares about. Luke wasn’t family, he wasn’t a lover, he was simply a friend.
At this point, Han owed Luke nothing. It was Han who had saved Luke’s butt during the Battle of Yavin. There was no gain for Han to go out after Luke. This was an act of utter self sacrifice, just like Han’s decision to enter the fight along the Death Star’s trench. At that moment, when Luke is about to be taken down by Vader, here comes Han. Again, there was nothing Han would have gained by doing what he did. He had already gotten his reward. He risked his life, his ship, and his freedom in the galaxy. Yeah, he got a medal for his valor, but I really do not think Han really cared about that.
I wonder what the source of Han’s motivation was. What formed his character in such a way? Was it his parents? Was it learned ethics? Was it his years as a smuggler only being able to count on those who were his friends to watch his back?
So what did I learn? I learned that friendship is just as important as any other relationship in our lives. Family, lovers, friends: if we love them we will be willing to give it all for them. Han was a good man, and a good man takes care of his friends.
The most influential man that has ever lived said this, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Jesus is right.