A few nights ago I sat down to watch one of the Harry Potter films with Taylor as a reward for completing his reading of the book. In our family it’s something of a rite of passage; you have to read the book before you can watch the movie. When your parents are book nerds, such is your lot in life.
With the youngest three in our family already in bed, and Bryson and Reilly at a Daddy-Daughter function at the kids’ school, I was thoroughly enjoying some one-on-one time with my favorite nine (almost ten, if you ask him) year old. As we snuggled into the couch, munching on copious amounts of popcorn, the scene just before Ron’s first quidditch match began.
Enter Luna Lovegood on the scene, completely decked out in an enormous Gryffindor lion head in support of her friends.
Taylor giggled at the sight and confided with a smile, “I love Luna.”
I looked at him, slightly surprised by this confession, and asked, “Oh really? Why?”
He thought for a moment and explained, “Because she doesn’t care what other people think about her. Luna is always herself no matter what.”
Nine years old (almost ten?), and certainly wiser than his mother was at that age.
What would the world look like if we weren’t afraid to simply be ourselves, no matter what? If we lived according to the beliefs and principles we say we adhere to? If we moved forward in confidence, unfazed by ridicule or the mocking tongues of men? If we chose not to react defensively to those of differing viewpoints, but with kindness and understanding instead?
I love these words from Thomas S. Monson:
As we go about living from day to day, it is almost inevitable that our faith will be challenged. We may at times find ourselves surrounded by others and yet standing in the minority or even standing alone concerning what is acceptable and what is not. Do we have the moral courage to stand firm for our beliefs, even if by so doing we must stand alone? . . . It is essential that we are able to face—with courage—whatever challenges come our way. Remember the words of Tennyson: “My strength is as the strength of ten, because my heart is pure.”
May we ever be courageous and prepared to stand for what we believe, and if we must stand alone in the process, may we do so courageously, strengthened by the knowledge that in reality we are never alone when we stand with our Father in Heaven. (“Dare to Stand Alone,” Oct. 2011 Conference Report.)
In my life, I have personally experienced others challenging and mocking my beliefs. I wish that I could say that I took it all in stride, but sadly, that hasn’t always been the case. With age comes wisdom, and while I feel that I am more secure and firm in my faith and life purpose, I also feel that I have acquired more understanding and empathy for other perspectives and beliefs.
And who knows? Perhaps some day I will be able to move forward unfazed by criticism and belittlement and react simply with confidence and understanding.
Taylor is right.
Luna is definitely a character worth loving.