It’s been a busy first week of 2017 in this household. After declaring my New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 in my last post, I’ve started working on them (and other stuff) already:
- I signed up for the 2017 Sacramento Rivercats 5k race on April 15. Come join me and register here. (sign up by January 10 and get a $10 discount on the regular registration fees),
- I posted a Yelp review from one of my favorite meals of 2016,
- Bought tickets for 8(!) San Francisco Giants games (if you haven’t heard, they plan on winning the World Series)
- Hit the gym 3 times already this week!
- Finished my 1st book of 2017,
- Consulted with a financial planner, to look at boosting our retirement contributions,
- Planned our 10-year anniversary vacation at Universal Studios Hollywood and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (to help and celebrate our marriage!)
Speaking of Harry Potter, I’ve immersed myself in that universe over the holidays. I’ve watched the movies several times (since they are on constant rotation on cable), planned this HP vacation (coming up in February!), been listening to some new-ish HP-centered podcasts, and signed up for a Pottermore account. (For those of you who care, I was sorted into Slytherin and my Patronus is a St. Bernard dog).
The two Harry Potter podcasts are very different. The first one is pure fangirl fun, The Girls Who Lived. Every week, two editors from Bustle bring a youthful and energetic take on the Harry Potter universe. Though it’s only been around since November, it’s among my favorites. Both hosts are very enthusiastic about their fandom, which is refreshing in a day and age where many are more concerned about looking cool and aloof for the public than letting their passions shine. I can only wish that more of us can be courageous enough to share our true feelings instead of conform to what the current culture dictates.
The second podcast is a little more serious and introspective. Harry Potter and the Sacred Text asked the question “What if we read the books that we love as sacred texts?” As a active spiritual seeker, this question initially gave me pause. I love reading for pleasure, and I’ve also read several sacred texts during my pursuit of my B.A. in Religious Studies. But I’ve never thought about combining the two. After binge-listening to this podcast, my thinking has shifted. Great literature can be treated as sacred, important life lessons can gleaned from stories, lives can be changed in very deliberate and intentional ways. Whether it be Jane Eyre, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter, we can treat tales as sacred and learn from them.
In absence of an everyday Christian community, this is a substitute for a regular Bible study for me. Each week, I listen to the two hosts go over a chapter of one of the books in the series (currently in Book 2, the Chamber of Secrets), read through certain passages using traditional spiritual practices, and then bless some of the characters (and those people who are in similar situations). From an outsider’s point of view, it looks very similar to a traditional Christian Bible study. Except the text is different.
I have shared this podcast with a few people. Some of have enjoyed it, others are skeptical. Why take something fun and dissect it? But great literature is great literature. They can be entertaining and enlightening at the same time.
I hope that I can find more people who share this view… possibly even start a local Harry Potter and the Sacred Text reading group. This won’t be a goal, per se, but something to ponder and look into for the future.
2017 scares a lot of people; uncertainty in this nation’s political climate worries much of the population. But I don’t want to be a victim of circumstance. As much as I can, I want to take control of my situation and make the best of it. I choose to be optimistic about my life and my future. I hope you can find hope, too.