<Previous: The radiance of Love
No esoteric blog series on Love and fear would be complete without at least one reference to Harry Potter.
I wrote years ago about my geeky literary love for these stories and the brilliance of JK Rowling and the beauty of art in revealing the truth of creation. As I began to piece together my thoughts for these essays on fear, another genius Rowling metaphor came to mind.
Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them… Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself… soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life. (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
If Dementors are the personification of fear, the victorious counterforce of the Patronus is Love. The wizard conjures a Patronus by focusing on a happy memory (dare I say, a memory of being loved), summoning the most positive emotions and channeling them into an apparition of light. The Dementors must flee. The Patronus always wins. Boom.
Like a Patronus, perfect Love casts out fear. When we live into that space of knowing we are loved, of knowing Love is present, of knowing all of creation is loved—then we are freed from the chains of fear. We do not have to be afraid of being insignificant or unnoticed, we do not have to fight for recognition or power or appreciation because we are complete in Love.
Love makes us brave. It gives us courage to come alive and fully be who we are created to be. We can throw ourselves into expressing and using our gifts and our personalities and our passions without shame. When we know we are loved, the opinions and validations of others don’t matter anymore. They don’t affect our worth or our security. They cannot change the irrefutable fact that we are and always will be held within the strong hands of Love itself.
God instructs us over and over again, “do not fear, for I am with you…” We can be free from the prison and paralysis of fear because we know that He (who is Love) is with us and around us and behind us and within us. We are held in Love. God’s desire for us is freedom and wholeness. We cannot be free and whole while living in fear.
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. (I John 4:16-19)
There is so much to digest in this passage. This is the goal: to fully experience Love so that we are not afraid. Love does not punish. Love embraces. As we live in Love (God), our love becomes better and we become more courageous—that is, we grow unafraid—because the Love around us and in us forces the fear out of us, making room for only more Love.
I wanna go hug some puppies.
(By the way, the Dementors’ victims were often comforted with chocolate. This is good and true. I stand by my conviction that JK Rowling is a genius.)
Love is so much more than a pleasant feeling. Love is a force more powerful than the strongest Patronus. It protects us and fills us and sends us out with courage and strength.
Be not afraid, for Love is with you…
How do you picture Love? Besides the Patronus, what metaphors resonate with you?