How Harry Potter Helped Me Get Over My Past

22 Jun

My living room

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I’ve been reading it. I admit it. Guilty pleasure since I was 19 years old, on summer break in college and just had to go out and buy the fourth book at 2AM from the Super K-Mart two towns away. I haven’t been AS obsessed since those days but recently, I decided I wanted to get ready for the seventh and final movie. Thus, I picked up the book and three days later I had finished it after reading on lunch breaks and after work. It became a short-lived escape but in the midst of my mental vacation, I made a connection that changed the way I thought about my own life.

First, a brief-watered-down-background-without-spoilers: Harry Potter spends the better part of the book trying to destroy parts of Voldermort’s (the evil wizard’s) soul. These fragments of the soul are imparted onto objects, animals, and sometimes people and they are called horcruxes. At the very apex of the book, Harry must fully come to terms with the soul connection that he shares with Voldermort. This connection is a result of something that happened long ago in Harry’s life when he was a baby. Little does Harry realize the depth of the connection that he has with Voldemort but in order to move on with his life, Harry has to cut the tie that they share.

My epiphany came because of another life-changing book that I’ve been reading simultaneously, “Sex and the Soul of A Woman,” by Paula Rinehart. Rinehart, a counselor who has worked with thousands of women (and men) over several decades, describes what a soul tie is and how we can give ourselves to another person (whether that be a family member, friend, or romantic interest) and make an unhealthy tie to them when we cross physical, spiritual, or emotional boundaries. The result is disastrous and unless, with God’s help, we break the soul ties we have to these people, we will never fully be able to move on with our lives.

As I am in a season of trusting God and discovering the joy He has for me, I felt convicted that letting go of more soul ties was in order for me to connect in a deeper way with him. While walking through this painful but cleansing process of cutting soul ties with former boyfriends and friends with whom I’ve had unhealthy relationships, I found myself thinking about Harry Potter and his relationship with Voldemort. As I researched what a horcrux was in JK Rowling’s world, here’s what I discovered (after reading Wikipedia): “There is no limit to the number of Horcruxes a wizard can create. However, as the creator’s soul is divided into progressively smaller portions, he loses more of his natural humanity and his soul becomes increasingly unstable. Under very specific conditions, a soul fragment can be sealed within an object without the intention or knowledge of the creator.”

Yep, sounds exactly like a soul tie except without the wizarding lingo. There is no limit to the number of people we can connect with when we are craving love, respect, admiration, and for someone to know us in an intimate way. That craving to be known leads us to what Rob Bell in his book, “Sex God”, calls “the search for the unconditional embrace.” Sadly, I know this because I’ve done it myself for years without realizing it. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to want someone to know you, love you, and connect with you in an intimate way. I think that desire is God-given. But when it happens too fast, out of context, before the time is right, and a person becomes an idol put on a pedestal, it can quickly become an unhealthy soul tie. And the more soul ties I’ve made in my life, the more my soul, like the soul of Voldemort (which he separated  into eight pieces), became unstable. The good news is that for me, (and for Harry who has a soul tie to Voldy in Book 7), there is hope. Soul ties can be broken. And when they are, that can lead to freedom. I have a post-it on my mirror that has a verse on it: “It is for FREEDOM that Christ has set you free so stand and do not be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”

Dancing in the rain when I was 19- A moment of freedom

I want to trust God in the areas where I need to heal. I slowly, sometimes with trepidation, let God into those places in my heart that I have long since determined would be shut forever. When I do, it’s scary, but it’s also good because in those moments when I do, part of my soul is restored and I taste the sweetness of freedom. I can’t tell you how Harry handles his soul tie, you’ll have to wait and see on July 17. But as for me, I choose freedom. Since making that choice to break the soul ties, I’m different. I don’t feel as bound to my past. I am able to let go. It’s still a journey I am on and it’s not easy. But then again, Harry’s journey wasn’t exactly a cake walk either…

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One Response to “How Harry Potter Helped Me Get Over My Past”

  1. David Dhuet June 23, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    Hey Melissa —

    It sounds a bit like (to go back a lot of years) Luke Skywalker & Darth Vader — having to fight the dark side of connection before it draws you in. Good post.

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