TCKs and the Mirror of Erised

When I was a teenager I read the Harry Potter series and I am currently listening to the audio books as a nice distraction from studying for my finals. ūüôā

In the first book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” the young boy Harry is given the news that he’s a wizard.¬†

His life changes within seconds: he is not just the forgotten orphan who never met his parents; he is now part of a new family at the Hogwarts school, with real friends and an adventurous lifestyle.

And then there’s this one scene in which Harry wanders the dark corridors of the castle one night and discovers the Mirror of Erised.¬†

Harry looks in the mirror and he’s suddenly surrounded by his mother and father – the people he never really met and misses the most.¬†
It’s such a sweet description of this eleven year old boy relishing a moment with his family and finally a sense of belonging.¬†
But when he shows his best friend Ron and he looks in the mirror he doesn’t see any of this. Instead, he sees himself as head of Griffindor house and Quidditch captain. He finally feels special since he normally has to fight for attention as one of five boys in a big family.

The Mirror of Erised is not an ordinary mirror. 

It doesn’t show you what is.¬†
It reveals your deepest desires, no matter how deep they might be hidden in your heart.
Yet, as soon as you take a step back the illusion is gone and you’re face to face with reality again.


Harry just can’t stop looking in that mirror. Night after night he goes back to see himself and relive the idea of a perfect family. But in the third night Dumbledore, the headmaster, finds Harry and tells him that “this mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth.” Eventually, Harry will have to take that step back into reality.


I feel like Harry sometimes. 

I am still surprised how much this relates to what many TCKs feel like. 
There’s this deep desire within us to belong.¬†
To be understood. 
To be ourselves without explanation or excuse. 
Sometimes the ache for people and places we had to leave behind is physically painful. 
All we want to do is to jump on a plane, fly to one of the places we call home, meet familiar faces, and feel that everything’s going to be fine.¬†
We can spend hours looking at pictures of what used to be. 
We harbor that warm feeling spending time in the past gives us. 
Skype calls with friends half across the globe better never end. 
Night after night we could go back and look into our Mirror of Erised.

But we can’t stay there forever.¬†

We, too, need a Dumbledore calling us back and guiding us through the reality of the present. We sometimes need this gentle reminder that our past fa√ßades don’t offer us anything.¬†
There’s no knowledge of truth in them. And unfortunately not much comfort either.¬†
They only increase the desire because whenever we put down our photographs, shut off our computer, or leave our houses we are still here. 
In the present, in reality.
What a disillusionment to let go. All enchantment’s gone within seconds.


But the reality we’re left with is not just bleak and empty.¬†

It is full of opportunities we’re supposed to seize. The gifts of the past we had the privilege to enjoy were not given to us in vain; they made us fit to take up the challenges of the present and turn them into an even better future.¬†
The things we endure and accomplish, the people we invest in today are the very memories we will dwell on tomorrow.

So let’s do it together.¬†

Let’s take a step back from the mirror.¬†
Let’s choose to face reality and the challenges it puts before us today.¬†
Let’s be grateful for our past, give into desires from time to time, and be even more excited for the future.

Als Teenager habe ich die Harry Potter Reihe gelesen und gerade h√∂re ich die H√∂rbucher, das ist eine sch√∂ne Abwechslung nach einem langen Lerntag…:)

Im ersten Buch “Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen” erh√§lt der junge Harry die Nachricht, dass er ein Zauberer ist. Sein Leben √§ndert sich in Sekundenschnelle: er ist nicht mehr nur der vergessene Waisenjunge, der seine Eltern nie kennengelernt hat; er ist jetzt Teil einer neuen Familie in Hogwarts mit echten Freunden und einem abenteuerlichen Leben.
Und dann gibt es diese eine Szene, in der Harry eines Nachts die langen dunklen Korridore entlangl√§uft und den Spiegel von Erised entdeckt. Harry schaut in den Spiegel und ist pl√∂tzlich von seinen Eltern umgeben ‚Äď den Leuten, die er nie kennengelernt hat und am meisten vermisst. Eine wirklich sch√∂ne Beschreibung, wie dieser elfj√§hrige Junge einen Moment mit seiner Familie genie√üt, endlich f√ľhlt er sich zuhause.
Aber wenn er den Spiegel seinem Freund Ron zeigt und der hineinsieht, sieht er nichts davon. Stattdessen sieht er sich selbst als Anf√ľhrer von Griffindor und Quidditch Kapit√§n. Endlich f√ľhlt er sich besonders, da er sonst immer um Aufmerksamkeit k√§mpfen muss als einer von f√ľnf Jungs in einer Gro√üfamilie.

Der Spiegel von Erised ist kein gew√∂hnlicher Spiegel. Er zeigt dir nicht, was ist. Er enth√ľllt deine tiefsten Sehns√ľchte, egal wie tief sie in deinem Herzen vergraben sind. Aber sobald du einen Schritt zur√ľckgehst, ist die Illusion weg und du stehst wieder der Realit√§t gegen√ľber.

Harry kann aber nicht aufh√∂ren, in den Spiegel zu blicken. Nacht f√ľr Nacht kehrt er zur√ľck, um sich selbst zu sehen und die Idee einer perfekten Familie wiederzuerleben. In der dritten Nacht kommt Dumbledore, der Schulleiter, vorbei und sagt Harry, dass “dieser Spiegel uns weder Wissen noch Wahrheit gibt.” Harry muss also irgendwann den Schritt zur√ľck in die Realit√§t machen.¬†

Ich f√ľhle mich manchmal wie Harry. Und ich wunder mich immer noch, wie sehr das mit dem zu tun hat, wie es vielen TCKs oft geht.¬†

In uns ist diese Sehnsucht, dazu zu gehören.
Verstanden zu werden.
Wir selbst zu sein ohne Erklärung oder Ausrede.
Manchmal k√∂nnen wir den Schmerz f√∂rmlich sp√ľren, da wir Leute so sehr vermissen, die wir zur√ľcklassen mussten. Wir wollen einfach nur in ein Flugzeug steigen und an einen der Orte fliegen, die wir Zuhause nennen, bekannte Gesichter sehen und das Gef√ľhl haben, dass alles gut werden wird.
Wir k√∂nnten Stunden damit verbringen, Bilder anzuschauen von Dingen, wie sie einmal waren. Wir bewahren dieses warme Gef√ľhl in uns, das die Vergangenheit uns gibt. Und Skype Anrufe mit Freunden am andern Ende der Welt sollten am Besten nie aufh√∂ren. Nacht f√ľr Nacht kehren wir zur√ľck und schauen in unseren Spiegel von Erised.

Aber wir k√∂nnen nicht f√ľr immer dort bleiben.

Wir brauchen auch einen Dumbledore, der uns zur√ľckruft und in die Realit√§t der Gegenwart f√ľhrt. Wir brauchen manchmal diese sanfte Erinnerung, dass die Fassaden der Vergangenheit nichts f√ľr uns zu bieten haben, es ist kein Wissen oder Wahrheit in ihnen. Und leider auch nicht wirklich viel Trost. Sie verst√§rken eigentlich nur die Sehnsucht, denn wenn immer wir unsere Fotos weglegen, unseren Computer ausmachen oder unser Haus verlassen, sind wir immer noch hier.
In der Gegenwart, in der Realität. Es ist schwer, loszulassen. Aller Zauber ist innerhalb von Sekunden einfach verschwunden.

Aber die Gegenwart, die uns bleibt, ist nicht einfach nur leer. Sie ist voller Möglichkeiten, die wir ergreifen sollen. Die Geschenke der Vergangenheit, die wie erleben durften, wurden uns nicht umsonst gegeben; sie haben uns bereit gemacht, um die Herausforderungen der Gegenwart anzugehen und sie in eine bessere Zukunft zu verwandeln. 

Die Dinge, die wir aushalten und meistern, die Leute, in die wir heute investieren ‚Äď das sind die Erinnerungen, die wir morgen in Ehren halten.¬†
Also lass es uns zusammen tun. Lass uns einen Schritt zur√ľck treten, weg vom Spiegel.¬†
Lass uns bewusst die Realit√§t sehen und die Herausforderungen, die sie uns heute stellt. Lass uns dankbar sein f√ľr unsere Vergangenheit, manchmal der Sehnsucht nachgeben, und noch gespannter auf die Zukunft sein.¬†

[Five Minute Friday] Fill

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I’m filled to be emptied again
The seed I’ve recieved I will sow (Desert Song. Brooke Ligertwood)


This song often speaks to me. It encompasses all the seasons of life, all the moods of my soul. It never stops at one place, but always seeks for more, looks out for the Lord. 


Life seems to be a process of being filled and being emptied again. 

Having times when people just pour into you. 
You feel as if God’s just opening the heavens to shower you with blessings.¬†
Your heart and mouth are flowing over with the joy you experience.

And then there are times when it’s your turn to give.¬†

When you pour into others, pass on from what you’ve been given before.¬†
Invest your time, money, thoughts, and emotions into someone else. 
There are situations and challenges that just drain your energy. 

The big challenge we have is to find a balance between these times. 

We cannot be happy all the time, not everything will go smoothly. 
But we’re neither supposed to struggle all the time.¬†
There will be joy in the morning after the sorrow of the night. 

On our own strength we won’t be able to maintain this balance.¬†

We have this privilege to go to the One whose strength and joy and encouragement are far greater than any we could ever come up with. 
He can fill us with more than we can ever imagine. 
And he loves doing it! 
He enjoys it when we come empty-handed and ask to be filled with his abundance. 
And he rejoices when we leave joyfully and fill someone else with this gift. 

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For the first time, Kate Motaung is hosting Five Minute Friday ‚Äď Welcome! Everything else stays the same: one prompt. Five minutes of writing. No editing. Sharing.¬†

[Five Minute Friday] Begin

Yesterday was the day.
The day things came to an end.
I had my stateboard exam in English, a five hour exam and then it was done.
I studied five years for this. Now I am one step (and only one more exam) closer to graduation.
It was strange.

Yesterday, my roommate moved out.
We had shared an apartment for three years, enjoyed late night movie and laughter sessions,
lived a bit of life together.
When I got back home last night she was gone.
Her room was completely empty and I could hear my own voice echoing from the plain white walls.
It was strange.

While I feel sad about things coming to an end, I cannot deny a second emotion springing up in my heart: excitement.
Pure joy.
Apprehension of what comes next.

Graduation means stepping out into the world.
Getting a job. Moving on. Let’s see what life throws at me then.
An empty room means a new roommate. Breaking up of old habits, redecorating.
New people, new fun, new ideas.

In German we have a saying, “there’s magic in every new beginning” (Jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne).
And I am about to find out a little more if that’s true.

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One last time the fabulous Lisa-Jo Baker is hosting Five Minute Friday- thank you!

With quiet, soft steps…./Mit leisen Schritten…

Isn’t life ironic sometimes?
Just two days ago I posted about this feeling that’s been creeping up in me over the last few weeks. Things around me are coming to an end, passing by my eyes, and I can just look after them and whisper a quiet ‘Goodbye’.
And now, Lisa-Jo Baker talks about finishing well in the Five Minute Friday prompt ‚Äď spot on. So I ¬†post my thoughts again and hope you’ll join the conversation!
photo credit: Nathan Martin

With quiet, soft steps a part of my life says goodbye, and I am too busy to mourn it.
This week was full of ‘lasts’.¬†
The last paper, the last office hour with a professor, the last seminar.
A few weeks ago already was the last presentation, but I only realized it afterwards. 

It’s a lot of small steps, but they make a big difference, and I become aware of it only bit by bit.¬†
It’s the end of five years at uni.¬†
Five years of studying, of thinking and diving into complexities.
Five years of lights going on when I got something.
Five years of crazy study groups and wonderful people.

What I find most interesting or sad about it is not necessarily that it’s over, but that I don’t have time to say goodbye. Too many appointments, deadlines, and thoughts in my head keep me from saying Tsch√ľss properly.¬†

But it is so important to not just go from one thing to the next. Don’t mourn nostalgically and never let go, but look back on everything you accomplished with pride. Enjoy and be grateful.¬†
Every step into something new is a bit easier if you finished the step before that well.  

I have written about this topic before, and I feel it will be part of my thoughts for a while. Things become a little easier with a RAFT. 
Life will always be full of ‘lasts’ and new beginnings.¬†
A life without movement is impossible ‚Äď and honestly, who would want that?¬†
Without movement we are stuck, get rusty, die a little. 
But we can make transitions easier by making them consciously. 

You have to close doors behind you sometimes to know which open ones you can go through next.

How do you make transitions in your life? If you already graduated, how did you celebrate/experience/miss the end of your studies?


Mit leisen Schritten verabschiedet sich ein Lebensabschnitt und ich bin zu beschäftigt, ihm hinterher zu trauern.
Diese Woche war voll mit letzten Dingen. 

Die letzte Hausarbeit, die letzte Sprechstunde beim Dozenten, das letzte Seminar. 
Vor einigen Wochen schon war das letzte Referat, mir ist es aber erst danach aufgefallen.
Es sind viele kleine Schritte, aber sie machen doch einen großen Unterschied, der mir erst nach und nach bewusst wird. 
Es ist das Ende von f√ľnf Jahren Uni.¬†
F√ľnf Jahre voller lernen und sich in Dinge reindenken.
F√ľnf Jahre Aha Erlebnisse haben.¬†
F√ľnf Jahre mit verr√ľckten Lerngruppen und tollen Menschen.
Was ich an dem Ganzen interessant oder traurig finde ist nicht unbedingt, dass es zu Ende geht, sondern dass ich keine Zeit habe, Abschied zu nehmen. 
Viel zu viele Termine, deadlines und Gedanken im Kopf um bewusst ciao zu sagen.
Dabei ist es so wichtig, nicht einfach von einem zum nächsten zu gehen. 
Nicht wehm√ľtig hinterher zu trauern und nicht loslassen, sondern mit Stolz auf das zur√ľckblicken, was man geschafft hat.¬†
Sich freuen und dankbar sein. 
Jeder Schritt in etwas neues ist einfacher, wenn man den Schritt davor gut beendet hat.
Über dieses Thema habe ich schon öfter geschrieben und ich glaube, es wird mich noch ein bisschen länger beschäftigen. Mit einem RAFT geht so manches leichter. 

Das Leben wird immer wieder letzte Dinge und Neuanfänge haben. Ein Leben ohne Bewegung gibt es nicht Рund ganz ehrlich, wer will das auch? Ohne Bewegung bleibt man stehn, rostet ein, stirbt. Aber man kann die Übergänge leichter machen, indem man sie bewusst macht. 

Man muss¬†manchmal¬†T√ľren hinter sich zumachen, um zu wissen, durch welche offenen man als n√§chstes gehen soll.¬†

Wie gestaltet du Übergänge in deinem Leben? Wie hast du das Ende deines Studiums erlebt/ gefeiert/verpasst?

[Five Minute Friday] Bloom

Sometimes I wonder.
If flowers thought as much as we do, what would they think about?
Would they think, Am I pretty enough? Is my dress good enough to show myself to the world?
O no, a petal is missing ‚Äď this is horrible! Where can I hide?
I think I don’t have anything to give, I might just stay a bud forever.
And why in the world am I planted HERE? I’d much rather be somewhere else!

Even though I am not a nature person, it is good to let creation remind us of a few core human, worldy, and spiritual principles. We need those when we are caught in thoughts like those above.

Flowers don’t care how they look, they are just there.
No matter what color their ‘dress’ or if a petal is missing ‚Äď they just bloom.
They let nature take its course.
A bud eventually turns into a full blooming flower, that’s how it is.

We are called to bloom, just like them.
With everyone we have, especially with our flaws.
Our destiny is not to remain buds forever.
Eventually, this life that’s been planted inside of us has to spring up and show itself to the world.

Flowers can’t decide where they’ll bloom.
But instead of complaining about location they simply make the most out of it.
One of the most amazing things for me is to take a walk and then discover a single flower in the most remote places. A flower in the middle of nowhere stands out.
It’s been planted there for a reason to bring joy to a wanderer’s heart.

We sometimes can’t decide where we are planted for a season in our lives.
But we can decide to make it the best of times by blooming and bringing beauty to unexpected places. You never know what wanderer will come by and be encouraged by the joy you bring.

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One prompt. Writing for five minutes flat. Linking up with wonderful writers. That’s Five Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo Baker!

[Five Minute Friday] Release

My life is crazy busy, every friend trying to meet up with me or trying to contact me knows that (and I am terribly sorry about that!).
But often my mind seems even crazier.
Too many things going on at the same time.
Too many impressions waiting to be processed.
Too many questions wanting to be answered.
Too many stories to tell.

Sometimes I just want it all to stop. To just press pause, process, and then move on.

I need to release some of the thoughts and processes bottled up within me, otherwise I explode.
So I write.

Thoughts come to my mind, frames are filled up with images.
Loose ideas turn into phrases, sentences.
My hands pick up these ideas and translate them onto this virtual piece of paper.
Now they are out there, my thoughts, ideas, fears, and dreams.
And I feel a little more structured and at peace.

But why do I click “publish”? Why do I allow people from all across the world to read my mind?
See a little bit of myself even though they don’t even know me?

Sometimes you have to release a bird to see if it can fly.
You have to release an idea, a thought, a dream, or even something you’re struggling with.
Because sometimes, it comes back to you. In the form of a comment, an email, a personal meet-up. There is people out there who had similar ideas, struggled with the same thoughts, or didn’t dare to voice their fears.
Releasing a piece of my mind, of my story, helped them to release a piece of their soul.

“You never know the true value your story carries until you see it in the eyes of someone else who really needed to hear that story” (borrowed from my very gifted friend Tyler).

So go, release a piece of your mind.
And wait for the piece that will come back to you.

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Releasing a bit of my story today on Five Minute Friday by Lisa-Jo Baker! One word, five minutes of writing, no editing. And sharing with a wonderful community of fellow writers.

[Five Minute Friday] Nothing

There I was, sitting on the floor in an empty room.
Crying.
Shocked by myself.
I didn’t even know myself anymore.
I had just walked out on a crowd of people.
I could not bear the happiness anymore. All I felt was hatred, exhaustion, and such heaviness.
I had to leave.
After months and months of giving and pouring into people, events, schedules ‚Äď I had nothing left to give.
I peered into this nothingness and knew I would have a long journey ahead of me.

Sometimes it might be necessary for us to hit rock bottom.
To realize our empty hands and even more, our thirsty, exhausted hearts.
To give in to our need to be filled first, to receive so that we can pass it on to others.
To discover again that there’s something there.
Something we’re passionate about, something we’ve learned and others can learn it from us.
Something that doesn’t drive us away from people, but actually right to where they are.

But it doesn’t come right away.
It takes time to walk through this nothingness, to process this feeling of emptiness.
And to get to the place, this fountain of life and abundance, ready to fill our empty souls and hands again with more than we can ever imagine or ask for.

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One prompt. Write for five minutes flat and link up with fellow writers over at Lisa Jo Baker‘s Five Minute Friday!