A Weasley Friend

Watching `the Harry Potter movies on television last week reminded me of two things: 1) that ABC Family has far too many commercials, mostly for their own shows, and 2) that friendship is what makes Rowling’s characters endure.

There are plenty of other traits that suggest Harry Potter will remain a classic. The books are clever and playful, and the movies by and large capture that spirit. They also have plenty to say about the universal struggle of good versus evil, told in a way that makes the evil both understandable and painfully close to home.

But to me, these things are icing. What really makes the cake is the family of friends that come together to meet the challenge—and not just for the sake of the quest to defeat the Dark Lord. The characters unite first and foremost not as colleagues, but as friends. They act bravely and selflessly on each other’s behalf, often offering up their lives to save one another.

Fantasy? Well, yes, if you’re talking about flying cars and walloping willows. But not if you’re talking about that level of committed friendship. Just because people usually don’t act that way toward each other doesn’t mean that they never do, or that such all-encompassing friendship is any less beautiful when it happens.

As children, we learn how to make friends. As we grow older, we learn the give and take necessary to keep them. When we finally reach adulthood, however, many of us lose sight of how important friendship is, busy as we are with establishing our place in this world and accumulating the necessary trophies to prove that establishment.

But friendship is a precious gift, a love that we need and that no other relationship can satisfy. Even Jesus needed friends. According to John’s gospel, the primary reason he offered up his life was for his friends.

Recently, I discovered that my MBTI personality profile aligns with Ron Weasley. Fitting, I suppose, given my red hair and freckles. But I hope we share the more meaningful traits—loyalty, determination, love—that make Ron one of Harry Potter’s closest companions.

So today, I’m trying to remember to be a Weasley, at least in the most important aspects. I’m remembering the friends who have stood beside me, hoping I can be such a friend to others, and trusting that those relationships matter more than anything I might achieve or accrue.

Fun with Forty

I thought I turned 40 years old yesterday. Turns out I had the day wrong. They say the mind is the first thing to go.

The truth is that birthdays, for me, have always been arbitrary milestones. I’m sure I must feel different than I did at 30. But we live moment to moment, not decade to decade, and so it’s hard to notice the changes. When I woke up this morning, I was neither any wiser nor any wiser than yesterday. It’s a day in my life, and not much more.

That being said, the forty-year mark does provide an opportunity to reflect on the world I was born into and the one I live in now. So, on this arbitrary milestone, here are some arbitrary fun facts about the last forty years:

  • Since January 17, 1974, the earth has turned on its axis 14,610 times. There have been 495 full moons and 87 solar eclipses.
  • The earth’s population has grown from 4.1 billion to over 7 billion.
  • When I was born, my parents had a rotary phone on a party line. Now they have cell phones on which they can watch television.
  • 162 people have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, including Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Duke Snider.
  • The United States has seen 8 presidents, seven of which were elected and one who ascended from the VP position. Three were Democrats, Five Republicans.
  • Bell bottoms, olive green, and tie-dye have gone in and out of fashion multiple times.
  • Thirty-eight sovereign nations have been established. The breakup of the Soviet Union accounts for 7 of those.
  • I have lived at 17 different addresses in 12 different zip codes. I have worked at a newspaper, a post office, a daycare, a restaurant, two campus ministries, and too many churches to count.
  • Personal goals accomplished include making all-region band, graduating seminary, establishing a family, pastoring a Wesley Foundation, and writing a good book.
  • Personal goals yet to be accomplished: dunking a basketball (10 ft goal), biking coast to coast, making lots of money, and actually publishing said book.

I’m sure there are other equally arbitrary and also entertaining things I’ve left off the list, but this list is enough to illustrate how much the world has moved and changed. But, in the words of my friend Betty, it’s been such a good life so far and I’m so blessed to have lived it. Here’s to the future and all the hope therein. Onward and upward.