Dealing with Dementors

This past Sunday was Balloon Sunday at First Parish Church in Taunton.  My story was inspired by this article I found by Chris Crass.  It’s amazing what can be found on the internet by plugging a few words into your search engine.

The Harry Potter stories have lots of mythical  and magical creatures – some nice and wonderful, some not so much.  One of the least nice of the creatures are the Dementors.  According to Professor Lupin of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Dementors “drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them… Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you…You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.”

And the worst news is…Dementors are real.

In real life, Dementors are not wispy, dark ghosts floating around us.  They are the people that we meet from time to time who tell us that we are not smart enough, that we are not pretty enough or strong enough or skinny enough.  They are the people who tell us that we should quit trying to do great things because we are not good enough.  They tell us that we shouldn’t even try to bring good things into our lives because we are not worth it.

Expecto Patronum!


We know how to deal with Dementors, though.  In the world of Harry Potter, they use the Patronus charm and that is how we deal with Dementors in real life, too.  We whip out our wands and shout, “Expecto Patronum!”

Not really.  Although that sounds like a lot of fun and I might just try it some time.

The key to the Patronus charm is not the wand or how loud we shout the magic words.  The true strength of the magic is in our happy memories.  The hope and love in our hearts is what protects us and drives away the Dementors.

So when we meet Dementors – and we will meet them –  we must remember to fill our hearts with happy memories, loving thoughts and hope.  We strengthen those memories and thoughts by filling our lives with people who love us, who support us as we grow into wonderful people and who help us do great things.

It would be way more fun to whip out our wands and shout, “Expecto Patronum” at some Dementor who has been putting us down.  However, as two young girls at church reminded me on Sunday, Dementors can often be driven away by simply ignoring them or telling them that we don’t like what they are saying.  And then go get a piece of chocolate.

Leave a comment


  1. Oliver Kelley

     /  April 13, 2014

    I am a worship coordinator, tell us more about balloon Sunday.

    • Balloon Sunday is a multigenerational celebration of joy and happiness. We order enough helium filled balloons so that every person attending gets one with plenty left over for decorating the worship space. The concept was brought to First Parish by the late Rev. Bill Wagner who brought it from his previous church in Bangor, Maine.


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