Better late than never! Here is a reflection I tended for the 3rd week of Advent–Joy.
Ah Joy. And Sadness. Two of my best emotional friends.
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley, knocked it out of the park when they wrote the screen play to Inside Out (2015), a not-so-childish animation that tells the tale of Riley, a young girl who is grieving the move her family has made from the Midwest to San Francisco. Surprisingly the primary characters of this film are her Emotions–Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear, and Sadness–who guide her every thought and action.
What I love most about the back-story of this movie, is that the character Sadness wasn’t originally a main character. In his interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air in July of 2015, writer and director Pete Docter shared that Joy, the main character, had originally been paired up with Fear. But after 3 years of working on the film the story line was stuck. It wasn’t until Sadness came to the forefront, that the story of happiness returning to Riley’s life could unfold.
Sadness, you see, taught Joy that in certain times that Riley remembered being happy, it was a memory that followed a sad time. Riley needed to grieve her loss in order to make room for new times of joy.
The holidays can bring much sadness for people. But if they should look deeper, they may find that in many cases they are grieving the loss of joy.
Kahlil Gibran wrote in his book The Prophet,
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
May any sorrow we may experience this Advent season teach us all the more about joy.