The other day, I was sitting in my doctor’s office, hoping I wouldn’t have to wait long. I looked around for some people-watching to distract me, and was rewarded when a teenage girl arrived. She was dressed all in black, and had long, straight, black hair. She had studs in both eyebrows, a ring in one nostril, and another in her lip (ouch). She was plump, had a few zits, and she did not move with confidence. Her fingernails were painted black, and chipping. She did not make eye contact, and her hair fell forward fashionably to hide her face. Everything about this person bristled and snarled, like an annoyed black porcupine with low self-esteem.
And then something happened: she reached into her bag (black, with sharp metal adornments) and pulled out a book. I couldn’t see the cover, but as she carefully opened the book and turned to the first page, I could clearly discern the familiar, unique design of… a Harry Potter book! I could hear the beguiling notes of the opening theme! Her foot drew up in a vulnerable, little-girl tilt, and she fell into that book like a stone in a lake. Her shoulders dropped, and she absent-mindedly and unfashionably tucked her hair behind an ear.
And I smiled. I felt unaccountably relieved that this young woman porcupining her way across the minefield that is adolescence (and I could be projecting here) had the company of a good book. I wanted all the goodness of Harry’s world–great friends and mentors, developing strengths, a place to belong, and the triumphant power of love–to take root in her, and feed her, and lead her to the next book, and the next.
Imagine: finding healing in a doctor’s office. Who’d’ve thunk?