Laughter. Excited talking. The façade of a train station. The noise of a train. Tears of excitement sprang to my eyes, and I was bouncing on the balls of my feet. I took in my surroundings with pure joy and in total awe, like a small child who is visiting DisneyWorld for the first time.
“Why are you like this?” my husband joked quietly with me, shaking his head, as we boarded the scarlet train, him, my mother, and myself cramming into a small compartment.
“You just don’t understand,” I told him, my voice shaking with emotion at the overwhelming experience.
As the train travelled the five minute journey, I eagerly awaited our stop. As we got off the train, I squealed with little-girl delight and drug my husband across the platform and down the stairs.
Buildings gleamed in the sunlight. Turrets reached sky-high. Shop windows reflected what could lay inside.
I was staring at a world I had imagined for years and had been looking forward to visiting for months.
I had finally stepped into my books.
. . . . . .
Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was a highlight of that summer for me.
My husband and I had just graduated college, and we were about to celebrate our 2-year wedding anniversary. As a combined graduation-anniversary-(my) birthday present, my mom took us to DisneyWorld. In reality, my husband let me have that one because he knew how much I love Disney. And he agreed we could go to the Harry Potter amusement park at Universal Studios.
The poor guy was embarrassed to be with me I think as we hopped from one side of Universal to the other so I could fully experience the world I had spent years reading about and imagining.
Of course, I had to make a stop at Ollivander’s, and I insisted on buying the wand that interacted with the shop facades of the park.
“You realize everyone else who has that kind of wand is…twelve, right?” he quipped.
“Your point?” I responded as I showed off my wand work on a nearby window. (Yes, surrounded by girls much younger than me.)
I think I literally spun in circles to take it all in.
While I was persuaded to agree, rather angrily I might add, to see the rest of Universal Studios, I was completely enamored with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I could have spent all day there.
. . . . . .
September 1st. It’s my birthday. But it’s also an important day for us Harry Potter fans—it’s back to Hogwarts!
This year marks “19 years later” and the final words in the series: “All was well.”
That trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was by far my favorite trip, second only to the vacation my husband and I took this past December. Granted, I do remember some things of that trip I’m not proud of. Namely, the fact I may have thrown just a bit of a fit when my husband suggested—nay, begged—for us to visit the rest of Universal Studios because, as he put it, we didn’t spend all that money just to see one part of the park. Like a petulant child, I crossed my arms and grumpily followed him. I eventually “knocked it off” and apologized, realizing he was right and I was being stupid.
My point is, Harry Potter has played a big role in my life. Really, it’s the story I always come back to. I’ve written about the themes in college papers; I (attempt to) discuss ideas about the story as they crop up in my head; I listen to a Harry Potter podcast; I have a Pottermore account; and I follow (and participate in) the newly-created WWBookClub on Twitter.
As I’ve been battling depression, it’s the comfort zone I retreat to. It’s familiar enough I know the story line, yet I can always find some new nugget to pick out and think “wow, that’s great.” I always seem to catch something new.
I’ve been listening to the audiobooks, because listening to them helps me to relax, and I just finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. For me, the battle in the Department of Mysteries holds so many mysteries in itself—allusions, images, and even things I hadn’t noticed by just reading. But one piece in particular caught my eye (er, ear).
[WARNING: if you have not read the books, a spoiler lies ahead.]
During the battle, the group gets separated, and somehow Ron ends up attempting escape alongside Ginny and Luna Lovegood. He gets a bit crazy in a room we assume is made of planets, and, upon seeing an aquarium full of brains, he’s entranced and insists on viewing them up close. He uses “Accio” to call one to him, wanting to know more about them. When he finally gets his hands on it, though, it begins to attack him.
Once the battle is over and the group is recovering in the hospital wing, we find Ron still has scars on his arms from where the tentacles of the brain attacked him. But it’s not the attack itself that strikes me, nor is it the scars. It’s what Madam Pomfrey has to say about them: “Sometimes thoughts can leave deeper scarring than anything else.”
Since hearing that line, I have been thinking a lot about it, and I think she’s on to something.
We are usually our own worst enemy. Our minds cause anxiety and depression. And those take form in thoughts. Anxiety tells us we won’t ever say or do the right thing; it keeps our mind spinning and spiraling until we turn to any method to shut it down. Depression tells us we are not worth it, no one likes us, or just makes us live in so much mental pain we can’t function; it sucks the energy right out of us. As I discussed in my positivity challenge, our thoughts can help us or hinder us in seeking positivity—negativity can change our brain chemistry, but so can positivity. Our thoughts can affect our reality (“Your mind affects your mouth, and your mouth affects your mind”). Then, our thoughts, especially expressed out loud, can affect others.
Thoughts really do leave deep scars, and I wish that I had Madam Pomfrey’s potion as a quick fix.
But I don’t.
. . . . . .
Our thoughts determine our actions and reactions. They can leave deep and painful scars, but they can also be empowering. When we choose to stop allowing anxiety to take away from our today, our thoughts will no longer control us; instead, we control them.
If I continue to dwell on what I believe should be instead of what is, on what I want instead of what God wants for me, I will have scars. But there is a kind of potion that can heal: giving it to God. While it may not act as fast as many solutions in the world of Harry Potter, it is the best solution there is because you relinquish control, knowing He will cover you.
And with that knowledge, eventually all will be well.
. . . . . .
Are you a Harry Potter nerd? What House are you? (I’m Hufflepuff.) What is your most memorable take away from the series?
What’s your comfort zone for dealing with scarring thoughts?