Monday, April 21, 2014

Up close and personal with Dumbledore

April 21, 2014,

In much of well-known literature, cinema, and true stories there is often a mentor who helps the protagonist recognize his or her full potential. One of my favorites is Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series. Possibly no one else could look at the scrawny 11-year-old wizard and see past his awkwardness, insecurities and lack of magical knowledge. But somehow, through those half-moon spectacles Albus Dumbledore is able to look past Harry’s character as-is, and sees the final, end of the book product. He encourages, instructs, guides and loves Harry into being who he truly is throughout the first six books, giving the tools and confidence he needs for Harry to progress.

We all need a Dumbledore. We all need those people or situations that bring out the best in us and nurture our spirits. We all need a pat on the back, someone who really loves and understands us, someone who encourages and strengthens us. We all need a situation that creates an environment where we can explore who we really are, and cultivate our talents. Yes, we all need a Dumbledore. But more important than that, we need our Dumbledore to die.

The death of Dumbledore in book six (I just realized how completely nerdy I sound) is one of the most heart-wrenching moments, not only for Harry, but for the reader also. The quest to conquer Voldemort now seems not only daunting but also insurmountable. The safety net is gone, and Harry has no one else to fall back on but himself. HIs Dumbledore is dead.

Sometimes we get too stuck in that comfortable spot, with the same comfortable people doing the same comfortable things. The atmosphere that once nurtured us has now reached equilibrium. It is now a crutch, an excuse not to grow anymore. We know that we probably COULD do greater things, but we always have that safety net underneath us that "if it comes down to the wire, someone else can do that. Someone else can shine." The truth is that Dumbledore HAD to die, because if he had not, Harry would not have been able to face Voldemort. When Dumbledore was gone, Harry’s last resource became himself.

This week, my Dumbledore died. I got a new apartment, new area, and new roommates. Three things that have stayed constant throughout the last 9 months finally changed, and I felt completely lost, exposed, and vulnerable. My roommate for the past 9 months and one of my best friends got transferred to a different city, I moved from the nicest apartment in the mission, to a former elders’ apartment (enough said), and my area grew by three times. All the familiarities I had were suddenly gone, and I was forced to put into practice the things I have spent my whole mission learning.

All in all it was a week full of quite a bit of change, but at the end of the day, I am grateful. After all, a mountain bike can't traverse the most difficult terrain with training wheels. So here we are, Dumbledore gone, and down the mountain we go!

-Hermana Thomas

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