in: Advice, Character, Sunday Firesides

• Last updated: September 25, 2021

Sunday Firesides: Run at the Wall

Illustration of man runnig at a wall.

Our family recently decided to move from reading different picture books to each of the kids at night, to reading chapter books aloud as a family. We chose as our first book, or really, book series, the Harry Potter collection. As none of us had ever read the books or seen the movies, it’s been fun to finally get to know this famous world of wizarding.

One scene in The Sorcerer’s Stone particularly struck me: Harry is about to embark for the first time to attend Hogwarts, and must board the train which will take him there at Platform 9¾ at the King’s Cross railway station. Yet he can’t find the platform; all he sees is what appears to be a very solid brick wall.

Eventually, Harry is informed that to access the secret platform, he has to run at the wall. With some trepidation, the young wizard charges right for the barrier . . . and seamlessly passes through it.

Herein lies a great metaphor for life. So many times, the things we want to do — start a business, change jobs, get a girlfriend, spend our summers in Maine, join a jiu-jitsu gym, go camping this weekend — seem almost impossible to accomplish. We don’t have the time, money, connections, confidence. It almost feels as if there’s a solid wall between where we are, and where we want to be.

And yet that wall, like the one at Platform 9¾, is far more permeable than we often think. We simply have to run at it — take the next possible action, and then the next — and lo and behold, we’ve passed through. You look around, and think with surprise and delight, “Hey, I’m doing it!”

Seemingly concrete obstacles are unexpectedly porous. Just run at the wall; magical things await on the other side.

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