Celebrating the Good Days
His smile was different that day as he sat down for lunch. He had taken the time to drive from downtown to meet me. So, I asked, “What are you smiling about?”
“Today, I made my last payment for my college debt. That ball and chain are gone!” He looked lighter than air as he enjoyed a lunch that was less stressful because his future had changed. Relief, joy, pride, thanks were all mixed in the stew of his delight.
I have seen that same kind of smile many times. . .
- When my dad paid off the mortgage on our family home,
- When young woman opened the envelope and learned that she was admitted to medical school,
- When a 23-year old young man had just picked up an engagement ring,
- When a 16-year old had just been relieved of her braces.
- When a couple pulled back the blanket to reveal a head of hair and introduce a new daughter to the grandparents.
Everyone celebrates differently. Some show ecstatic joy in a mix of tears and laughter. Some savor it with silence and wonder, taking it all in while a bit removed from the fray.
Here’s the question: do you typically join in with them enthusiastically, or do you find that your joy for them is clipped by a tinge of envy? “Must be nice” has been uttered under the breath of many who beheld these celebrations. I remember when I realized it was happening in me. I’m ashamed to say it, but I had a hard time celebrating. So, I decided that I wanted to be a person who enjoyed others’ joys. It was a conscious decision: “Lord, help me weep with those who weep and genuinely delight with those who celebrate.”
On most days, it feels as if their burden has been lifted from my shoulders, as well. And the celebration tastes sweeter than it ever has. Will you join me in the “balcony” of others’ victories? You’ll find that the view is satisfying and the affirmation you give will yield a fruit of peace in your heart.