Tuesday, June 12, 2012

wisdom from Dumbledore.

When Cara was here a few weeks ago, we stayed up late every night, talking about important things, like life (and Friday Night Lights).

One night, we were talking about our families, where we come from, where we're going. Our what ifs, our if onlys, our dreams, and our fears. I told her something along the lines of, "I'm afraid I won't make it. What if I end up like them and not where I want to be?"

Her response was to ask me if I had a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I got it from my bookshelf, she found the page she was thinking of, and began reading:

Suddenly, something that was nagging at Harry came tumbling out of his mouth.

"Professor Dumbledore... Riddle said I'm like him. Strange likenesses, he said..."

"Did he, now?" said Dumbledore, looking thoughtfully at Harry from under his thick silver eyebrows. "And what do you think, Harry?"

"I don't think I'm like him!" said Harry, more loudly than he'd intended. "I mean, I'm -- I'm in Gryffindor, I'm..."

But he fell silent, a lurking doubt resurfacing in his mind.

"Professor," he started again after a moment. "The Sorting Hat told me I'd -- I'd have done well in Slytherin. Everyone thought I was Slytherin's heir for a while... because I can speak Parseltongue..."

"You can speak Parseltongue, Harry," said Dumbledore calmly, "because Lord Voldemort -- who is the last remaining ancestor of Salazar Slytherin -- can speak Parseltongue. Unless I'm much mistaken, he transferred some of his own powers to you the night he gave you that scar. Not something he intended to do, I'm sure..."

"Voldemort put a bit of himself in me?" Harry said, thunderstruck.

"It certainly seems so."

"So I should be in Slytherin," Harry said, looking desperately into Dumbledore's face. "The Sorting Hat could see Slytherin's power in me, and it --"

"Put you in Gryffindor," said Dumbledore calmly. "Listen to me, Harry. You happen to have many qualities Salazar Slytherin prized in his hand-picked students. His own very rare gift, Parseltongue -- resourcefulness -- determination -- a certain disregard for rules," he added, his mustache quivering again. "Yet the Sorting Hat placed you in Gryffindor. You know why that was. Think."

"It only put me in Gryffindor," said Harry in a defeated voice, "because I asked not to go in Slytherin..."

"Exactly," said Dumbledore, beaming once more. "Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

I felt lighter because of what I had just heard, and Cara turned to me and said, "It's the choices we make that make us who we are. It's your choices that make you who you are. That's why I love you, because of the choices you make, the person you choose to be." 

I need to remember that it's my choices that show who I am. And I'll end up where I choose.

P.S. I think I need to reread all of the Harry Potter books. It's been a few years and I could use more wisdom (and magic) in my life.


  1. This is incredible! I love it! That Cara, so wise. I don't know if you know this or not, but I spent most of yesterday creating the children's sermon for Sunday. It's based on Harry Potter and how a good life means finding wisdom in funny places. I also love you for your choices. Happy Tuesday, my friend!

  2. Thank you so much, Annie! Cara is very wise, and her ability to think of passages from books to suit every situation amazes me! She does it all the time.

    I wish I could be there for the sermon; it sounds like it will be amazing! I think if I reread the HP books now I'd get so much from them that I missed when I was younger. They really are books for all ages!

  3. Amanda! You just made me cry! In my coffee, no less. Thank you, thank you. After yesterday, I needed this. interestingly enough Brene Brown's post (http://www.ordinarycourage.com/my-blog/2012/6/12/defense-against-the-dark-arts.html) includes HP metaphors as well. Oh, Harry. You are the wisest wizard; the one who, by your own misgivings and self doubts, shows us all our own personal brands of magic and sparkle.

  4. Too funny that we both wrote about Harry Potter today!

    Thanks for your comment, Dalyce; it meant a lot!


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