Saturday, August 2, 2014

Harry Potter and Me...

I am a total bookworm and a complete nerd.  When I find a favorite book or series, I will read and re-read it over and over.  Now that my kiddos are getting older, we can read some of my favorite books together.  I know that many people in the Southern Baptist world are not fans of Harry Potter, and that's ok by me...to each his own.  I know that I cannot grow up to be a wizard nor do I worry about my children picking up wands and trying to perform magic.  I see Harry Potter the same way I view Star Wars and Lord of the Rings...excellent pieces of fiction/film that spark imagination and give way to interesting conversations.  This post is not about whether Harry Potter is right or wrong for a Christian to read or enjoy...this post is about the tidbit of wisdom I gained from this series and how one conversational exchange resonated deeply in my head and heart recently.

In Harry Potter, there is good and evil.  In this world, there is good and evil.  When you break down what is good and what is evil, you uncover a vast array of emotions, thoughts, and actions.  One of the emotions that I have struggled with lately is that of loneliness.  There are days when I am so consumed with isolation that I almost want to stop breathing.  There are moments when the darkness of this world is so overpowering that I seriously consider giving in and giving up.  There are nights when I am all alone in my home when I think that curling up and sleeping forever seems like the greatest idea ever.  There are times that I just want to give into the darkness and say "you win, now let me be."

There is a sweet exchange in one of the Harry Potter novels between Harry and a lovable, loopy young lady named Luna.  Harry is facing controversy from all sides, he has lost friends, his world is in turmoil, and he is suffering greatly from the feeling of loneliness.

"Luna Lovegood: [about her father] We believe you, by the way. That He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back, and you fought him, and the Ministry and the Prophet are conspiring against you and Dumbledore. 
Harry Potter: Thanks. Seems you're about the only ones that do. 
Luna Lovegood: I don't think that's true. But I suppose that's how he wants you to feel. 
Harry Potter: What do you mean? 
Luna Lovegood: Well if I were You-Know-Who, I'd want you to feel cut off from everyone else. Because if it's just you alone you're not as much of a threat".--J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2007


Isn't that the truth?  Isn't that the way the dark forces of this world work?  Isn't that exactly the tactic the enemy takes to bring us down.  He hones in on our individual weaknesses and drives into that.  First Peter 5:8 describes the enemy as a lion seeking who he may devour.  He wants to take over your life.  He wants you to suffer.  He wants me to give up.  I am so guilty of hiding away and letting the loneliness take over.  I shy away from friends and groups when isolation starts sneaking in.  It's partly a pity party, partly me not wanting anyone to see me being weak, and partly an attack.  


Your soft spot might not be loneliness...it may be pride, guilt, shame, fear...  Whatever it is, you need to identify it.  You need to know what the target on your life looks like so you can protect yourself against it.  Because the good news is that good will conquer evil.  


"Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."--Albus Dumbledore, Prisoner of Azkaban Movie


I'm fairly certain the light Professor Dumbledore is referencing is not the One I require.  But, his statement is true.  Even when the darkness feels like it is closing in, we can reach out to the Light.  "I am the Light of the world; he who walks in Me will not walk in darkness"--John 8:12.  There is a way to conquer our inadequacies and the dark arrows pointed at our hearts.  The only way is life in and through Jesus.  He is the way to overcome darkness.  


But, we have to choose to let Him.  And, therein lies my struggle.  The darkness often looks easier and seems less painful.  The darkness sneakily promises relief from hurt.  But, the enemy is a liar, and while the poor choices may be enticing, they deliver short on reprieve.  The battle I am fighting now is to continue to choose His light and to not let my isolation overtake me.  I have to make the steps to walk back into His light...Bible study, prayer, fellowship, etc.  Otherwise, I will fall so easily into looking for an escape from my pain.  Even when I fall, even as I struggle, I hold tightly to this:  "I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height no depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."--Romans 8:38-39

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