Becoming Harry Potter: Facing the Mirror of Erised #MNBHP
But I expect you’ve realized by now what it does? […]Let me explain. The happiest man on Earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it and see himself exactly as he is… It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desires of our hearts. You, who have never known your family, see them standing around you. Ronald Weasley, who has always been overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, the best of them all. However, the mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible.
The Mirror will be moved to a new home tomorrow, Harry, and I ask you not to go looking for it again…. It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that….
In Year 1, Harry faces the Mirror more than once. The first time he is consumed by its power to implant false hope into his heart, causing him to stop living and instead dwell on fantasies. The last time, when he is desperate to find the Stone so that Voldemort can’t return to power, he is able to keep his desires in check.
What changed? Harry’s thinking. Before reaching the Mirror, Harry made a decision that would shape the rest of his story—he decided, live or die, that he was going to stop Voldemort. So when he stepped in front of the Mirror he used the its power to help him. He didn’t see his parents, though he still loved them; he saw the Stone drop into his pocket. By mastering his desires, he saved the world from Voldemort a second time.
We all have desires, but the truth is, no desire is going to give us lasting joy when we reach it. Lasting joy only happens when we can look in the Mirror and see ourselves just as we are. It is being content with the present, not that we don’t have goals and dreams but that we aren’t so consumed with the future that we forget to live in the here and now.
Challenge: Look into the Mirror of Erised and ask yourself “Am I dwelling, or am I living? Is there lasting joy—even on bad days—in my heart, or am I constantly reaching for the next desire to fill me up?”
If you want to look into the Mirror and see yourself just as you are, decide, as Harry did, to live for something beyond yourself. It is when we live for the good of others that we find ourselves most alive.
Share with us what you see in the Mirror of Erised using #MNBHP.
Nest week: “Becoming Ronald Weasley: Wizard’s Chess master”