The Mirror of Erised

The Mirror of Erised

2017-08-18T13:19:53+00:00 March 23rd, 2010|Personal|

I’d been thinking all week about dreams that can’t come true.

No thoughts worth thinking…until I saw my daughter devour yet another Harry Potter book, and with Harry Potter on the brain, I went to bed.

Grapple with a problem, grapple with it some more, and then go to sleep (in others words, let the ants sort the seeds!)

In the morning, the Mirror of Erised, a mirror that “shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts” came to mind; I often have epiphanies in the early morning.

When Professor Dumbledore discovers Harry entranced, he explains why the mirror is so beguiling and therefore dangerous:  “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 all of them.  However, this 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….It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”


I suspect that most of us have a desperate desire of our heart, something we even desperately deserve, that we don’t have, and can’t have…

…at least in the way we imagine it.

Will you take a moment and think about what your desperate desire is, hold it in your hands, and examine it?

Inside of this something we can’t have, there are likely the seeds of a dream that is within reach.

Harry can’t have his parents, but he can be surrounded by people he loves and who love him.  Ron can’t be an only child, but he can distinguish himself as he, Harry and Hermione move through their hero’s journey.

Have you ever found yourself enthralled by, wasting away in front of the Mirror of Erised?

I have.

I’m also learning to walk away from the mirage, and live my life.

No doubt you are too.

  • What a wonderful post! I’ve been wishing needlessly for my dreams to come true rather than enjoying the ones that I have going on around me now. Who’d have thought inspiration would come from Harry Potter, lol!

  • amy jo

    Is wanting more money too much of the dream that should be walked away from? Sort of joking. Sometimes I feel like I look for dreams that can make me wealthy instead of just looking for dreams that would make me happy.

  • Julia

    The other day I was asked to imagine what I would do if I knew it would be my last day to live. It was startling to realize that I would do pretty much what I do everyday – spend it with my husband and my kids. All of the dreams of more ‘stuff’ (a better income, a nicer house and car, etc.) were not there at all. I wish I could quit dreaming about them so much…and LIVE my life. Thanks Whitney for putting it so well.

  • I was entranced by the dream of running my own camp for three years. It is crippling. I’m past it now as my current project is finally sprouting wings, but the mirror absolutely hampered me in committing myself fully to the present.
    It definitely takes looking at the “dream” and analyzing it. For me, I came to the realization that the “dream” would change many of the things I’m ecstatic about with my life now.

  • Brilliant post, Whitney!

  • Emily

    My desperate desire has been to have the “right” solution to whatever my quandary might be. That leaves me wasting away in research rather than taking some action and adjusting along the way.

  • And my deepest and apparently desperate dream really is out of my control because it deals with others’ agency. Because I have focused so much on that dream, I have forgotten or ignored the tender little mercies that surround me and those whose agency I cannot control.

  • What Bonnie said precisely describes much of my adulthood. Though I’ve recognized it and have made efforts to accept the things that ARE, and make peace with the life I have, it’s still hard to give up those dreams…especially the “righteous” ones (eg: that my husband will find his faith again and we can be unified on that front, etc.) Letting go of the “but I didn’t sign up for this” mentality has been a hard time coming.
    I trust that the path I’m given to travel will contain all the opportunities to learn and grow that I need in my life, and I’m getting better at being okay with that and feeling grateful for what I have. I’m also trying to be more alert to opportunities that I mightn’t have seen before me in the past…especially unexpected ones.
    I enjoyed this post a lot Whitney. My thanks for sharing it.

  • This is a great post. You have such a gift.

  • Great post. Sometimes we get caught up in the act of daydreaming and are unwilling to let dreams work with reality. Other times, we want a dream to come true with the work we want to do, and not the work that is actually required. With the right perspective dreams can be a joy, instead of a torment. Thanks!

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