The first night of my spiritual retreat last week, Adele gave us a chart contrasting the True Self from the False Self. I took one look and thought, “Shoot (or some other word)! I’m completely living in my false self!
The more Adele described the true self, the more I wondered whether I even have a true self. I worried that I’m actually more like an onion—peel all the layers away and there’s nothing underneath. But then she said, “The true self is very little, very vulnerable and pink.”
|False Self Voldemort|
Ah! I thought. Voldemort!!
SPOILER ALERT IF YOU ARE ONE OF THE 300 PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO HASN’T READ THE LAST HARRY POTTER BOOK!
Immediately, I pictured the scene in Book 7 at King’s Cross where both Harry and Voldemort may have died. Harry looks and feels like Harry only with healed wounds and perfect vision. Voldemort looks like a flayed, pitiful, unloved, ugly baby mewling under a bench where he’s been abandoned.
To the wizarding world, Voldemort may look powerful, brilliant, and fearsome. But on the inside, he’s an extremely damaged, unloved and undeveloped barely human baby.
Big Voldemort vs. Little Voldemort. False self Voldemort vs. True self Voldemort.
Maybe the fact that both Harry and Dumbledore look like themselves at their right ages and right size means their true selves are remarkably similar to what the world sees, despite all their struggles with power, identity, worth and recognition.
Hmmm. The theology of JK Rowling and Harry Potter. No wonder I love the books so much!
It seems to me the good news in our Muggle world is that no matter how flayed and ugly our true self may be, how damaged and undeveloped, Jesus always invites us with the question, “Do you want to get well?”
But maybe when Jesus heals, our true self doesn’t get to become grown-up and powerful. Maybe it stays little and vulnerable and pink. A well loved, welcomed and cherished baby.
Anyway, here’s Adele’s list. Choose who you want to be, Harry or Voldemort. (Or alternatively, my secret dream, Professor McGonagall.)