(Alternate blog title: Another example of how Harry Potter taught me everything I need to know in
I am learning that becoming a runner is a humbling process.
I chose to do the Team in Training with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society after my dad told me his cancer is worse again, and, the treatment we’ve gotten used to over the past 8 years isn’t working anymore. I was scared and frustrated and determined not to sit by and do nothing. When my dad was first diagnosed in 2005 I quit my amazing job in Little Rock and moved back to Massachusetts with no job to come home to. I did
something – a leap of faith – and it led me to where I am now (A priest ministering to an amazing congregation in suburban Boston. Not a bad gig!) But this time around I wanted to do something that would affect more than just my family or me. That’s where raising funds and awareness
for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society came in. Yes, I am bettering my own health in the process, but through that transformation I am contributing to research that might someday yield a cure.
So what does this have to do with the resurrection stone? In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we learn of 3 magical objects that, when united, make the holder a master over death: The Elder Wand (most powerful wand in the world,) The Invisibility Cloak (makes the wearer invisible to all – including death,) and The Resurrection Stone (a stone that can recall from death those closest to the person.) Read HP to learn the awesomeness of this tale. 🙂 Anyway – I’ve learned, as I drag myself out of bed each morning at 5:45AM to train that I need a LOT of motivation. I have a specific goal I am working towards and I have to push myself very hard if I am going to get there but some days that goal seems impossible. I am going it physically alone and that can be hard sometimes. I need Jillian Michaels to jump out of the bushes and yell at me. But since that isn’t going to happen – I carry my resurrection stone with me each day.
Each morning, my mom goes running with me. I can actually picture her running beside me willing me forward. She tells me she is proud of me and to keep going. (This image sometimes backfires and I start to laugh because she is always wearing one of her long jumpers like she’s ready for school and the absurdity just gets me.) My dad, who is very much alive and kicking, stands in my imagination just around the next corner waiting for me to get there. Several of the patients I treated during my time in child life cheer me on. The donor list for this venture runs through my head and I imagine seeing each of them along my route cheering me on. I could not get through my morning runs without these blessed souls. Each morning I use different levels of this visualization as I run, depending on how hard it is. I carry them with me in my heart, but I know that on race day I will have to drop my stone at the starting line trusting that these dear ones have given me all I need to travel the distance. Like Harry, I will have to enter the woods on my own.
This resurrection narrative naturally lends itself to the resurrection narrative of my faith. In the Harry Potter books, Rowling instructs the reader through Harry’s own learning, that the resurrection stone itself is dangerous because pulling those we love from death is not really life. Using magic to trick death into giving our loved ones back really only gives us the physical representation, a half-representation of that which we seek. This is why Christ had to come. Jesus came and defied death as only God could do. Jesus overcame death and the grave so entirely that we are able to rest in the certainty that our loved ones who go before us go “into paradise [where] the angels lead [them.]”
It is with that certainty I don my collar each day to speak the truth of Christ’s love in this world. I don’t believe in the deathly hallows or in magic stones that raise the dead; but I do believe in wonder and imagination and creativity that allow us to navigate this miraculous world created by our One true redeemer and advocate.
A few weeks ago I saw a ring in my friend’s etsy shop
that reminded me of the resurrection stone. Finally I went ahead and purchased it. It arrived in the mail today. When I look at that ring on my finger, when I feel it there, I think of all of you and those who have gone before me and I remember that we are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. I wear this ring and visualize the rock rolled away from the tomb and the angels regaling “He is not here; He has been raised.” This simple stone from my favorite beach is a talisman against doubt and fear. It is a reminder of Christ who lived and died for all of us. It is a prayer stone from the place I go to meet God when I am home (and where my mother met God so very often.) I know I don’t need the resurrection stone to call to my side support each day, I am blessed beyond measure: but for right now, it is a great comfort.