six – faith and fiction

The sermon this morning got me thinking — unsurprisingly, given my love for it — about Harry Potter. ImageSpecifically, about the seventh book and the mysterious note Dumbledore left on Harry’s snitch: I open at the close.

That, to me, is what it means to live by faith.I don’t mean that we all need a golden snitch, or that we all have to willingly submit ourselves to certain death at the hands of the most powerful evil wizard the world has ever seen. No, I mean something more along the lines of those words themselves: I open at the close.

My friend Taylor wants to work in the entertainment industry. I know very little about said industry, but everything I do know was learned from listening to her stories and struggles through applications and interviews and meetings and flights. All of that can be summed up in one sentence: the entertainment industry does not abide by any known schedule or rule. It’s a networking based industry that, to my eye, has little rhyme or reason for its doings. Taylor, bless her, is about as schedule-oriented, proceed-according-to-plan as they come. There is somewhat of an incredibly chasm between what she wants to do and what she typically does do, which might explain why she believes so whole-heartedly that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. (I think that’s a quote from Walsch. I certainly didn’t make it up.)

I’m not sure about life starting at the end of my comfort zone, but that’s certainly what makes good stories into great ones. Think about it. A hobbit leaves the Shire. Dorothy is lifted out of Kansas by a tornad. Rose Tyler hops into a space/time machine. Neville Longbottom becomes the leader of an underground student rebellion. Elizabeth Bennet tours Pemberley, only to run into Darcy himself. Mulan runs off to join the army in place of her father. Watson assists Sherlock Holmes. Heck, even Uma Thurman in Kill Bill was leaving her comfort zone as an assassin to get married.

Maybe — maybe that’s where God meets us, those broken places that mark the boundaries of our comfort zones: the edges of an impossible abyss, the cliff of an impossible height, the task that requires impossible strength and energy and courage. Not that I think he disappears when the odds aren’t stacked against us: I don’t. Remember that whole part about behold, I am with you always? 

But to live with faith — to really take life by the horns, to turn a good story into a great one — that requires risk. It requires that infamous leap of faith. Without that leap, the door to wonder stays closed. We live, but maybe not quite as fully as we could; it’s like The Hobbit without Bilbo leaving the Shire, or Lord of the Rings without Sam following Frodo. The true adventure, to live life fully and well — well, now, that jump would require some courage, wouldn’t it? It would require me to open my mind to new possibilities, to close my mind to old habits. And that, my friends, is a leap of faith that is more than worth the taking.

I open at the close.


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