Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Patronus Charm

I received some nice comments about my post Choosing Joy. It sounds like I'm not the only one God is working on in this area!

It wasn't so hard to choose joy while I was visiting family in Ohio. It was so good to be together, and there were 4 babies around (if you count a 2-year-old as a baby still--and Bantam2 is most definitely still my baby) to continually delight my eyes and soul. My nieces are all so lovely too, and my children enjoyed them so much. It was a thoroughly delightful time.

But since I've returned...it seems like all my anxieties are waving their hands frantically at me, urging me to worry about them. The PODS sits on my driveway calling, "Fill me, fill me! Think of how much I cost every month! Think of all the things buried deepest in me that you will be needing if your house doesn't sell before winter!"

My house, of course, is jumping up and down with excitement, ordering, "Look at all the fresh marks on my newly-painted walls! Look at the spots on my carpet. Look how full my closets and attics are--shouldn't you be packing more of this stuff up? Get busy, woman!"

My homeschool curriculum bursts off the shelf to shout at me, "Shouldn't you be planning/ordering/choosing alternate books/ordering Algebra 1/making a schedule/STARTING SOON???"

My computer calls sweetly, "Wouldn't you rather be blogging?" And my kids, of course, are loudest of all. "Mom, I need you to take me to Target for...." "Mom, I want to get together with..." "Mom, when can we go to...." "Mom, we're out of...." "Mom, we're hungry!"

So my anxiety level has been rising as I try to decide which concerns to tackle first, and oh my word, it's mid-August for pete's sake and how am I going to do everything by that still-undetermined date in late August when we begin school?

Sorry to pull you into my panic attack...

But this morning, God planted this thought in my brain as soon as I awoke: "Expecto Patronum!"

Harry Potter fans will understand immediately. This spell is the only one that works when one is fighting Dementers, those soul-sucking, happiness-draining, life-stealing fiends. In order to cast it, one must muster up all the most powerful feelings of joy, hope and love of life that one can. When performed properly, a full-bodied animal of silver mist bursts forth from the end of the wand--an animal of power or beauty or whimsy, and one of personal significance to the caster. Its presence dispels despair and darkness and drives Dementers from that place.

My favorite scene in the fifth movie (the one that's out now in theaters) was the one where they learn to cast patronuses. These silvery animals were running and flying through the air in such a joyful way, it just delighted me. It was also delicious to see what animals erupted from the wands of the various characters. If I had a wand, I'm pretty sure mine would be a horse, or possibly an antelope. (Anybody else want to tell theirs?)

Expecto Patronum: I expect, or I await, a guardian, a protector. The Wikipedia article suggests that the spell is based on hope and faith. (In the French version, the spell is Spero Patronum, which is translated "I hope, or I await.")

As characters in Harry Potter learn, it is difficult to muster feelings of hope and joy in the presence of the Dementers' spell of despair. The best way to do it is to focus on a person one loves or who loves you, or on a memory that brought great joy. What a great depiction of the inseparable nature of the greatest of all virtues--faith, hope and love--and their indisputable link with joy!

So this morning, I choose joy. I am focusing on those blessings that make me happiest and fill my heart with love--my children, my husband, my home, my Lord. Though it is a battle not to dwell on earthly cares, I will "set my mind on things above."

In the face of fear and anxiety, I expect joy. I await its protection. I hope--in the most Christian sense of the word.

***

Tonia and I are on the same track again. I loved this proverb she quoted today:

For the despondent, every day brings trouble;
for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.

4 comments:

Joyful Days said...

Oh my, you've blessed me. That made me teary, for you addressed my goal again--choosing joy. Hence the moniker. But some days I need a boost and you've provided mine for the day. Thanks so much.

My patronus? That's a good question. I'm going to ponder that today.

Erin said...

Perfectly timed post for me. Thank you! Loved it.

Anonymous said...

I think my patronus is a hawk, resting (soaring!) on those high drafts of air.
Expecto patronum!
Annie

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Oh Wow ,how did i miss this one? This whole series of yours has been wonderful but this one makes me want to cry. I think i should post "Expecto Patronum" where i will see it upon waking. And i love what you said here so much, "In the face of fear and anxiety, I expect joy. I await its protection. I hope..."

Paix,

Wendy