I am Harry Potter

HPThis morning I woke up from a dream in which I was Harry Potter. I’ve had a few of these dreams before and it’s strange because I’m in my body but I’m living Harry’s life, and people recognize me as him. I love these dreams (although they’re terrifying due to the possibility of my impending death by the hands of Voldemort). I really like flying around on a broomstick, hanging out with Hermione and Ron, doing wizardly things.

In my dream this morning, I was on a bus with a bunch of other Hogwarts students (sadly it was a regular bus, not even a flying bus). Lord Voldemort was on the bus, too. I don’t know why he didn’t just kill me then and there. Instead of wiping us out, he gave us a pep talk for our upcoming battle against him, which would take place once we reached Hogwarts. When we got to the castle, all the students got off the bus and I was left there alone with Lord Voldemort. I had a bunch of stuff in my pockets, including the Sorcerer’s Stone, and was trying to get myself organized. I kept finding things like my (real-life Jenna) massive set of keys (which is massive because I have keys for work, school, church, and my apartment). As I tried to hurry and get rid of the extra weight so I could be ready to defeat you-know-who, he came up to me holding a wand and telling me a student left it on the bus and would I please find that student and give it to her so she could be equipped for the battle? (Um, what am I supposed to say to that? “Okay, Voldemort, right away!”). I kept wondering when he was going to kill me, but instead he kept handing me wands that he found left behind on the bus. I got my wand mixed up in the pile. Looking at all these wands in my hands, wondering how I would get them to their owners–and the fact that I still had a bunch of junk in my pocket (minus the Sorcerer’s stone, which is not junk)–stressed me out.

Then I woke up and groggily wondered if I could ever convince Waldir to go to Harry Potter World with me. 😀 On second thought, I realized a theme park would be highly disappointing after my (much more realistic) dreams.

election night

November 2016

Ironically, I was with the HDS Muslims (and some other Muslims from around the community) on the night of the election, and it was painful. The past week at school has been even more painful. We’ve been going through stages of grieving. Shock turned to rage turned to deep sadness. I cried in two of my classes—not just a few tears, like, streaming-down-my-face kind of tears. Professors cried. For days, I couldn’t sleep at night…crashed around 4 a.m. to sleep for a few hours.

I’m surprised that the results of this election have been so visceral, raw, and—well, bodily. Post-election discussions at Harvard have addressed the election as a traumatic event, and I really do feel that there’s a lot of community trauma right now.

One of my Muslim friends, who is a first-year student at HDS, has family members in Michigan who have been threatened; as she kept getting phone calls from her mom about these threats last week, she asked her mom what to do. My friend was wondering if she should go home and be with family. Her mom chastised her, told her to get up off the ground (figuratively), and get to work. This response was heartening, full of energy and life. She told her daughter, “Your father and I didn’t immigrate to America for you to quit…”

And so, a fire has been lit—or rekindled—in many of us.

Rise Up

September 2016


Last week at noon service (a weekly interfaith worship gathering at HDS), I sobbed through the sermon and “die-in,” where black students lay on the floor to symbolize and protest the killings of our black brothers and sisters across the nation. The weight of violence crushed on me, and I poured out tears. I thought about Christ taking the pain of the world. Although that is HIS role—not mine!—I couldn’t help but grieve for the hatred, strife, thoughtlessness, and ignorance of humans. Then Debbie sang Rise Up and I will never forget the feeling in that room as the “dead” rose (symbolic on multiple levels!).