Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Harry Potter and The Whys of Life

Most of you know that Megan can read a book three times before I get through it once. She is an incredibly voracious reader. She ended the school year with more AR (remember that post?) points than any other kid in her class, and probably in the school, and received a special award for her hard work.

For the last year or so Megan and I have been working our way through the Harry Potter books for bedtime. A couple nights ago we finished Half Blood Prince. As we got further and further into the series and the books got darker and darker, I became more worried about Megan's ability to read these books without having nightmares. Her night terrors resurfaced a couple months ago and I've no interest in seeing them return on a full-time basis. The few she had brought memories of being helpless and frustrated to the forefront of my mind.

I think it was her first grade teacher that did a whole unit on fiction vs. nonfiction during reading. I'm grateful for this because since then, she's done so much better with "scary" books and movies. But still, these books get much more dark and scary than Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal.

*Spoiler Alert: If you haven't read the books and have no intention of doing so, you're all good. If for some insane reason you haven't read the Harry Potter books because you've been putting it off, you might want to skip the next two paragraphs.

We got to the chapter where Harry and Dumbledore are in the cave and the inferi are about to attack. I knew that no amount of fiction vs. non-fiction discussion would be enough, Megan wouldn't be able to handle it. I was right. I wasn't a full sentence into it and I had to stop and ask Megan if she wanted me to skip that part. It was the first time I'd had to skip anything.

Then came the confrontation between Dumbledore and Snape on the astronomy tower. I can't read that part without crying. I'm not sure how many times I've read the books. I read them with Nathan, each once. But I've also read them on my own for fun and also for study (before the last book came out I read each book and took notes on Snape, trying to find out if he was truly a Death Eater or not). I cried and cried through that whole section. When we finished it, Megan and I talked for a bit. She's a smart cookie, that Megan. On her own she decided that Dumbledore was asking Snape to kill him. She didn't fully understand why, but she knew Dumbledore wasn't asking Snape to not kill him.

It was so hard as a mother to not share with Megan all I know about the Dumbledore/Snape relationship. I wanted to comfort her, to explain to her the background information so it would all make sense. I wanted her to pity Snape and see him in a new light. Instead I had to let her grieve for Dumbledore and remain confused and upset with Snape.

If I'd been reading this book with another adult who didn't know what happens in the final book, I wouldn't have been as tempted to share all I know about what's to come and the whys of what happened. I'd be excited for them to read the next book and discover on their own what's to come. However, because it was Megan, my child who internalizes books the same way I do, because I could see the pain she felt and felt it myself, I wanted to ease her pain and explain it all away.

But I couldn't do that. How much more will she appreciate finding out on her own, the right way, than if I told her all I know.

It made me think of our Father in Heaven. He who knows all. He who knows all the whys and hows. Sometimes He gives us little glimpses, but never all the reasons and information. He lets us find out on our own and as we do, He comforts us if we let him. As we go through life and experience the horrible, or difficult, of seemingly unfair trials of life, we always want to know the whys. As Megan had to trust me that all would be well, and trust me when I said I couldn't explain it all right then, we must believe our Father in Heaven when He says all will be well if we trust in Him, despite how grim or sad or terrible things look and how few answers we have at the moment.

We've begun reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We're a couple chapters in now. I'm excited to be with Megan as she ends this adventure. I'm grateful I get to be with her as she learns all the whys and hows. I'm grateful I get to see her face as she makes these discoveries. I'm excited to talk with her when it's all done and over and we can sit and contemplate and mull over this world that was created for us to enjoy. Just as I'm sure our Heavenly Father is excited to sit and contemplate and mull over with us, when it's over, this earthly world that was created by Him for us to enjoy.