Seriously, if there is one thing I want to do in this life, it is go to Harry Potter World in Florida and drink a Butterbeer.
Bet you didn’t see that one coming?
*puts on sunglasses and smirks*
But seriously, I love Harry Potter.
Growing up, I feel like my childhood kind of revolved around the book and movie releases of said magical series. I would go to the midnight premieres of the films and be bleary-eyed at school the following day. I dreamed about what house I would be sorted into. (Gryffindor, come on now). I even developed a slightly irrational affinity towards red headed males.
But I’ve got to come clean here: I stopped reading the books after book number 5, because that mother had 766 pages. Ain’t nobody got time for that as a teenager! Not when I had aol AIM to attend to after school. #AwayMessagesShouldStillBeAThing
(And confession: that might have been the last actual book I read)
I know. I am a horrible member of society. My literary privileges should be taken away. Or at least my voting rights.
But anyways, there is one thing about the books/movies that has stuck with me over the years. But it’s not something you would think.
No, it’s not the quidditch. Or that Robert Pattinson got his start as Cedric Diggory. Or the fact that Harry and Hermione should have ended up together.
It’s the image of the phoenix.
Dumbledore kept this beautiful rainbow colored bird in his office. And it bursts into flames and burns up into a pile of ashes. But then, from those ashes, a small little baby phoenix is born.
And no, this is not some campaign for reincarnation.
It does remind me of my life.
This image of the violent burning bird reminds me of my anorexia, when I was just self destructing, in a free fall, causing my life to incinerate into a pile of ashes.
Only for God to come in and give me another chance — breathing life into those ashes. Making something beautiful, something clean, something new, out of that destruction.
But here’s the thing – the “burning phase” – it doesn’t have to be some earth shattering, life threatening, doozy like anorexia.
I feel like, at least once a week, I find myself in a fiery episode: maybe I’ve lost my temper with a loved one. Feel out of control, in over my head, discouraged, letting my self-doubt get the best of me. Maybe I gossiped. Got impatient with the kids I nanny for. Was lazy with my time. Burning up moments are different for everybody.
For me, I had one of those moments just tonight.
Holidays are hard to be away from my family. Seeing pictures of everyone together and celebrating Fathers Day, I was happy for them and for my dad, but also very sad that I wasn’t there.
I found myself slipping and slipping and spiraling into a self-perpetuated tailspin of feeling alone, feeling selfish and self-centered, feeling like: “what am I doing here?” and feeling useless and like I’ve failed.
I was having a burning up moment.
And falling asleep with tears on my cheek, I pictured that pile of ashes.
So I had to give that over to God. Allow Him to take my ashes and breathe life into me again. Tell me that everything is okay. That I’m not alone. That I’m not forgotten. That I am loved.
He brought out a little baby bird. A little baby phoenix. A promise of hope. And life. And a future.
Isaiah 61:3 “For all those who mourn…He will bestow upon them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.”
And given the current climate in our society as of late, I think that’s something that we all could use a little reminder of. A little beauty for our mourning. For our hardships. For our pain.
Just because you burst into flames and burned up into ashes doesn’t mean that’s the end of the story for you.
In fact, that’s the start of a new beginning.
So, sure – Harry Potter will stir different memories for different people. But for me, it’s simply that bird. The phoenix that reminds me that an end is never really the end, but the birthplace of new life. God makes beautiful things — even from ashes.
And meanwhile, we all can just get all verklempt watching the new trailer for the upcoming HP movie.