by Christine Organ
One of my favorite movies is “Love Actually.” I have seen the movie countless times and I make a point of watching the movie at least once every holiday season – usually while I am wrapping gifts. Despite the fact that I can recite lines from the movie by heart and know every character in and out, the film never ceases to move me to tears.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie comes in the final moments of the film when Natalie, the Prime Minister’s girlfriend, pushes her way past throngs of bystanders in Heathrow Airport and leaps into the Prime Minister’s arms, welcoming him home with complete and utter joy. A minute or so later, just before the film credits begin rolling, the movie concludes with images of loved ones – friends and family members, young and old – greeting each other in the airport. Tender kisses, exuberant hugs, affectionate caresses flood the screen and I am, once again, in tears as I marvel at the rare display of unfettered joy.
Why is it that we are so reluctant to show joy? At what point in our childhood, do we stop running to the front door when mom or dad comes home from work? When did we stop squealing with delight at good news, opting instead to express our joy with a calm, “well done” and a pat on the back? Why do we discredit the joy in our accomplishments, explaining our hard work away as good luck or discounting the success as less than it really is? And why is it so much easier to focus on the struggles we face in our relationships – petty jealousies, annoyances, disagreements, misunderstandings – than to focus on the joy that the relationship brings to our life?
Living a graceful and Grace-filled life requires that we not only embrace all of life’s emotions – joy, sadness, anger, happiness, anxiety, serenity – but that we share those emotions with others so that they might embrace them as well. Negative emotions are often easily exhibited with complaints, eye-rolling, sneers, judgments and grudges. Yet joy – pure, unadulterated blissful joy – is often sedated and tempered.
As we interact within the web-like network of connections that binds us all together, let us remind ourselves that by embracing our joy and proudly putting it on display, we are giving others the gift of joy by welcoming them into our circle of bliss.
So, embrace joy, share joy, and spread joy.
Run – don’t walk – into the arms of a loved one.
Sing exuberantly. Dance with abandon. Squeal with delight.
Praise yourself and your inherent goodness. Revel in the miraculous beauty of the world.
Love joyfully and live joyfully – so that you might know and share the joy of Grace.
Christine Organ is a wife, mother, writer, and Unitarian Universalist who lives in the Chicago area. She can be found online at Random Reflectionz.