[Warning: Nerd alert. The following post assumes some knowledge of Harry Potter. Muggles, be forewarned.]
It was on the walk back to the car, holding hands as we finished our date. There had been Mexican food, thanks to a coupon in the mail and lots of time meandering throughout our local bookstore. I mentioned that I had lingered at their small Harry Potter display and noticed that they had journals decorated in the colors of the different Hogwarts houses. No surprise, but Slytherin was the only one left in their display. My husband casually asked me what house I thought I was. I answered with confidence. I was a Gryffindor. He chuckled a little and said that he was pretty sure I wasn’t. He thought I was a Hufflepuff.
I know it might sound silly, but I was a little miffed. How dare he question my Hogwarts house? I had believed myself to be a Gryffindor for quite a few years, and had even had it confirmed by a few friends that affirmed that I was from this courageous, determined house. We had a lively conversation about it on the way home, and our first order of business to finish our date was to take a Hogwarts house sorting quiz. Lo and behold, to my utter dismay, I was a Hufflepuff.
(If you were wondering, my husband is a Ravenclaw and this was in no debate. He knows it and the quiz had the same opinion.)
It took a few days to fully embrace the idea of myself as a Hufflepuff. They have the reputation of being the least clever house, so of course, I didn’t want to be from there! It took hearing that one of my best friends is also a Hufflepuff and getting past the stereotypes to see how much I truly am from this house of the badgers. From the love of sunshine and growing things and cozy places, to their trustworthy and loyal, quietly faithful, tenacious, friendly personalities, I have come to admit that I’m a Hufflepuff through and through.
As the past week has been full of Hufflepuff (or as my husband calls me, “his Hufferpuffer”) jokes, I can’t help but feel a little embarrassed at how I could be wrong about something like this about myself. I know it isn’t the most serious matter. Even though I thoroughly enjoy Harry Potter, I can fully admit that it is merely a silly, fun thing to think upon what house I would be in.
But I think what it represents is what troubles me. It is disconcerting to think that despite my best efforts to be self-aware, to spend time slowing my heart and reflecting, there are still things I can miss about myself and my weaknesses. I can be wrong about me.
I’ve been thinking about Peter and his failure to remain faithful to Jesus when Jesus is arrested. Unlike Judas, I don’t think Peter was intentionally trying to fail Jesus. It would seem as though Peter had no idea that this would be how he would respond when put to the test. I honestly believe Peter in his sincere claim that he would follow Jesus no matter what. There was just more to Peter than even he knew.
Some forms of disillusionment (such as Peter’s loss of illusions about the strength of his commitment to Christ) can only be triggered by rather massive movements in the ground beneath our feet. Though we know this in our heads, it is shocking to discover it in our lives: there is more weakness within us than we can see. Further, there is more weakness within us than Jesus chooses to reveal to us. Frankly, we could not handle seeing everything Jesus sees.
Peter could not see his fault line. But Jesus did. In the same way, we do not fully know our hearts. But Jesus does. Today…rest deeply in Jesus’ promise that the Holy Spirit will “guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:13)
40 Days of Decrease, (153, 156)
Today, as I step into the sobering truth that Good Friday brings, I feel myself right next to Peter. I have no doubt that I love Jesus, but I am realizing that I don’t know my own heart well enough to feel confident that I will remain faithful when fear strikes.
It is scary business to realize that there are parts of myself that are unknown, even to me. While it can be silly matters like a Hogwarts house, I have no doubt that there are much more serious things hidden in my own heart. It is disconcerting to know that even my best efforts will fall short of truly knowing what my own heart holds. I feel fear start to creep into my heart, afraid of the darkness that might lurk there.
Yet, I’m reminded that this isn’t how the story ends. The story doesn’t end with Peter denying Jesus. The story doesn’t end with humiliation and failure and disillusionment. The story continues from here. Peter’s denial and disillusionment leads him to a place of humility and forgiveness, and later, strength that Peter is able to offer to others as he helps lead the early church.
I don’t have to be afraid of the dark parts of my heart that I don’t even know about. I don’t have to fear my own weakness and the blind spots of my heart. I don’t have to fear my human limits. I can rest and trust in the Lord who has compassion on me and my weakness, just as he did for Peter in his weakness.
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust.
Psalm 103: 13-14
Today, I’m opening my hands to the grace that the Lord offers me. I’m asking for the courage to be shown my weakness, to see what Jesus would chose to reveal to me. I’m asking for the trust to place my confidence in Jesus, not in myself or what I think about myself. I’m thanking him for the grace to be able to show up as my weak, silly, disillusioned self and be seen and loved by him.
It is him and him alone who can make a story of disillusionment and failure into one of triumph and strength. It is all grace.
Thank you, Jesus.
PS. If you are interested in information about Hogwarts houses, you can find more here and be sorted into your own house. And for all you fellow Harry Potter nerds, my wand would be Maple wood with a Unicorn hair core 10 ¾” and Quite Bendy flexibility.