Today we’re going to chat about horcruxes. Yes, like the magical objects that Voldemort used to split his soul, so that he could live for-ev-er (in true The Sandlot-style). Quick overview for those of you that aren’t familiar with them (actually, you should stop reading this right now, go pick up Harry Potter and read them. All seven. Still here? What are you waiting for? C’mon, it’s worth it. Life-changing): to create a horcrux, the creator needs to commit some heinous act, that repulses the soul—for You-Know-Who, this meant murder. Not to mention, that as he continued to split his soul into smaller and smaller pieces, he lost more and more of his humanity.
So, why do I want to write about horcruxes, after not posting for a couple of weeks and returning to Provo from the end of my travels which took me to Lithuania and all over the south of England? Because, as I’ve tried to write and process the deep loss that I’ve felt, yet extreme gratitude for the experiences I’ve had, I kept coming back to this idea of leaving not only my heart (which isn’t in San Francisco), but my soul behind. And then it’s a pretty small leap from soul-splitting to horcruxes.
Yet, I’ve uncovered a new method of creating horcruxes that comes from an outpouring of joy and love, rather than hate and cruelty. Oh, and here come some tears…(I’m not a terribly emotional person, but as I’ve drafted a few versions of the intro to this, I keep being overcome with emotion). This new method gives a different sense of immortality, than what Voldemort sought after, infusing your soul with the place, rather than attaching it to a specific object, living on in the ripples caused by your presence.
At least, that’s how I’ve come to feel. Leaving Lithuania after my mission over three years ago was heart-wrenching. I had a deep love for the country, people, culture, food, language, etc. Despite what seems like a difficult, miserable experience. This verse from the Book of Mormon encapsulates this, I think:
“30 And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever.” Mosiah 18:30
Any time I connected with something related to Lithuania, I felt a rush of kinship, like I was in touch with some lost part of me. I spent a few days in Lithuania, a couple of weeks ago and it was incredible. I went to Church and chatted with people, ate dinner with old friends, then spent the next couple of days wandering familiar streets and soaking up the old atmosphere. I felt almost immediately like I was home, the language came back as did memories. Yet, something was different. Maybe it was the lack of another person, maybe it was a slight mismatch between my memories and the reality. But I think the real reason is that no matter what I do, I cannot perfectly capture and relive the beauty of my mission. That same intensity of love/service/spirituality that I had then, simply won’t be there. A part of me still dwells in the old cobbled streets of Lithuania and there will forever be something magical about that place for me, even if I can’t reclaim that piece of me, it’s still there.
However, Lithuania is only one of the places in which my scattered soul resides. Grasmere, England is another. Spending the summer at the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere was phenomenal. Absolutely brilliant. The landscape is stunning and really one of the most beautiful places on Earth (I haven’t been everywhere, so I can’t definitively claim that it is the most beautiful, but it’s up there). But that’s only a piece of what I was able to do—working at the museum, talking about Wordsworth and his life, while living where he lived, walking where he walked, reading the poetry he wrote, inspired by the very landscape that surrounds you and you walk around. Not to mention how accessible much of England is from there (relatively speaking). I visited oodles of other places. Yet, there was something magical about the Lakes. Perhaps it was that I finally realized the peace and beauty that nature can provide, allowing my soul to commune with the pure, (relatively) untouched beauty of creation. Maybe it’s simply that Grasmere is so awe-inspiringly beautiful it steals a bit of everyone’s soul. There was a stillness and simplicity that I didn’t think I would really appreciate, as I’ve always considered myself more of a city person, but I loved it. The solitude was amazing. I could easily wander alone with my thoughts, only disturbed by the bleating of sheep, basking in the beauty of the world around me.
I cried as I left. Twice.
A part of me remains there, roaming the crags, fells, and tarns (and probably chillin’ at the pub, for old times’ sake).
I guess that’s what life is all about, having incredible experiences that change you and result in scattering bits of your soul. Maybe the experience fills you with so much goodness and wonder and joy that you can’t handle it, so some of you gets left behind. Or perhaps it’s to help you remember—by leaving a bit of your soul, you become a part of that place, like remotely logging on to a computer or something.
I don’t think that my soul literally split (at least I don’t think so…), but the idea is powerful and helpful. Nothing else really captures the pain/gratitude that I feel. Something so transcendent that I needed to sacrifice a part of myself to experience it and keep some of the beauty with me. After all, they live in me…