Mr. and Mrs. Dursley… were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 1).
And so begins the epic tale of Harry Potter, the series of books that until recently I refused to read, despite my wife’s gentle prodding. Perhaps a little more like Mr. Dursley than I care to admit, I often don’t read fiction because I “just don’t hold with such nonsense.”
It’s not that I didn’t grow up with fantastic fictional tales; it’s more that I am a grown up, I have work to do, subjects to study and master, and things to get accomplished. Reading a fictional novel doesn’t help me pay bills. It just isn’t that practical. But I agreed to read the first book because that’s what my wife requested.
It’s funny, you might think, how I went from stern-faced Daddy who only reads philosophical treatises to sitting in my chair giggling audibly over childish banter and a witty remark from Harry or Ron. I found myself enjoying the book, enjoying the stoking of imagination that comes from constant exercise and renewal.
No, I didn’t complete a task or earn money, but I experienced a kind of childlike enjoyment that worked like medicine on my soul. I laughed again, in the midst of a stressful life. I felt playful and happy again, hopeful and imaginative. Exercising my imagination snapped me out of my crusty Scrooge exterior.
Some lessons from children aren’t breathtaking, but they are refreshing. This is one of those for me—it takes discipline to exercise your imaginative self, your principle of childlike enjoyment, your gleeful laughter. It’s not necessarily practical or useful, in the utilitarian sense, but it is most beneficial for your soul.
Life isn’t just about reducing everything into an algorithm or theorem, a simple rule or principle of doctrine. It’s about the narrative beauty of the grand painting of life. It’s about taking in the entirety of the vibrant panorama, which takes discipline. It takes work to be creative and witty and full of mirth.
But a word of advice from Three Feet—it’s worth it.