Allen Greenburg, Albus Dumbledore, and other nerd ramblings

I’ve been mighty quiet on the blog front as of late because I haven’t made time to sort out all of the things that are happening.  There’s been so much emotions, thoughts, and feelings, that I just have been feeling somewhat numb.  One thing that I have been doing is listening to the Harry Potter books on my way to and from work.  I had only read 2 of the books prior, so it was really fun to revisit the whole series and to hear all the parts and characters that the movies left out ( seriously, why didn’t they include Peeves in the movies?!?).  I just finished the last one a few days ago.  There were a few times when listening through these books lines up eerily with my life and that’s what I want to talk about today.

I guess I should say spoiler alerts, but seriously, if you haven’t read the books or seen the movies by now, what’s your deal?
OK so first of all, I would like to warn any of you who may be listening through the books or planning on doing so to make sure that you are NOT on your way to do anything important by the time you get to the end of Goblet of Fire.  Not to say that there aren’t emotional moment up until that point, but WOW.  I finished Goblet of Fire as I was pulling up to work and just sat there.  Cedric- gone Voldemort- back Harry-almost gets murdered by someone who he had grown close to all year at school.  Dumbledore- radiates with power (the first time really seeing him in this way) I think Goblet of Fire has the most intense ending of any of the books.  All of the emotions.  I just sat in my car and thought to myself…  I was emotionally tired and overwhelmed from listening to the end of a kids book.  It was a relatively calm shift at work which was nice, but word to the wise.  Find a nice safe place before you finish that one.
The first time the books lined up with my life was when I wa finishing listening to Half-Blood Prince.  I remember working at camp when this book came out and everyone who was feverishly reading this on the weekend in between camps was devastated by the end of it.  Albus Dumbledore dies.  I found myself in my car, quietly weeping.  Yes I was sad that the character had died, but what led me to tears is that my dear friend Allen Greenburg had passed away just days prior.  I got to thinking about how Allen and Albus would have been friends.  My friend Allen was a fierce friend, loved the unlovable, was amazingly gifted when it came to caring for children, told some of the best stories, and was quite esoteric.

He was in his 70’s and as you can see the physical resemblance to Dumbledore goes without saying.  I don’t know if Albus ever had dreadlocks, but in a beard off I think it’d be a tie.  They both had the whimsical looks of mischief on their faces.  They were both borderline irreverent and very genuine.  Allen had many different jobs over the course of his life, and I think the last one was his favorite.  He was a professional playground monitor.  He’d give out bouncy balls to the kids (even if he wasn’t supposed to) and make sure that the children had a safe and fun environment to play.   Allen lived in the Artist Reformation house with Dana and I along with 4 other 20 somethings and developed a really close friendship with my friend Brendan (or Brandon as Allen would call him). They’d share stories, go to rummage sales, and they just connected in a real way.  They’d sit at coffee shops and talk about God while smoking cigarettes and meeting whoever would stop by long enough to talk.  I can just picture Allen standing up in front of a whole school and saying, “Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you.”. And then sitting down with a giant grin on his face.  Allen Greenburg was the closet thing to a real life Dumbledore that I’ll ever know.  The world is a little colder without Allen.  So experiencing Dumbeldore’s death in the book was just another wave of grief that engulfed me.  Not knowing how to feel or what to do afterwards, I was blessed enough to have friends come into town that knew him and did my utmost to be as present with them as possible, knowing that we were all hurting and dealing with our loss in different ways.  It was awesome and it sucked all at the same time.

The next time the books lined up with the real world is when I was beginning The Deathly Hallows.  This one was less profound (for me) as the loss of Allen/Dumbledore, but it still struck me.  The day that Trump signed and announced Executive Order  that bans people from certain countries from entering the US, I was listening to the part where they are referencing how Voldemort has control of the ministry and they were starting a muggle registration and putting people of muggle heritage on trial.  Seeing the marches, protests, and general dissent of this executive order, reminded me of these kids standing up to injustice (Ron offers to testify that Hermione is a distant cousin of the Weasley’s which would put her “blood-status” as a witch and not a muggle-born) doing whatever they would think to do and at the end of the day it boiled down to sticking together, standing up for each other, and treating everyone with respect (house elves, goblins, giants, etc) while the ruling powers try to legislate and institutionalize racism (purebloods first) and pushing out everyone who didn’t fit that mold, ignoring truth and justice.  If only we had an elderwand to help defeat Trump.

If anyone in this world has horcruxes its Donald Trump.  So if any of you are sitting on the sword of Griffindor, some Basalisk fangs, cursed fire, or any other goblin made goods…
All that being said, my message to all of you is the same as before.  Love each other.  Get out into your communities, meet people that are different than you. Fight injustice with love and grace.  Find a way to love those whom you don’t understand.  That’s what Allen did, and As I mourn my friend, as I am bothered by what is going on in politics, I am reminded that the only way to get through this grief, this loss, this turmoil is together. I still believe that God is sovereign and am genuinely curious and yearning to see where he’s going to show himself in these situations because I am confident that there won’t be a human solution to this problem.   It’s bigger than one president, one political party, or  on election cycle.  It’s a broken world that needs God’s love to permeate this torn society and culture of vitriol and hate.
Still working on a few more posts, however as life goes and friends die,  I get pretty distracted from this therapeutic creative endeavor. I hope you are all well and safe.

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