The power of celebration
“People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state–it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle…. Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one’s actions.” ― Abraham Joshua Heschel
“We marveled that while most of us had never met each other, we talked and laughed as if we’d known each other for years. Which, of course, we had.” — Laurie B
There really is power in celebration, and I’ve been blessed to experience it recently, in many episodes. The most remarkable one lately is the visit I referred to in an earlier blog. Four of my all-time favorite bloggers came to see us at our Alexandria home, and meeting them face to face was a dream come true! It’s still hard to believe it really happened, considering all the logistics involved, the complexity of modern lives, and the multiple responsibilities we all undertake.
Each of these women is special to me in her own way, but all share the common trait of knowing what it means to celebrate. That’s what brought us together in the beginning, and that’s what their trip here was all about. From as far away as New Zealand (a 36 hour journey, ONE WAY) to as “close” as southwestern Virginia (still a 5 hour drive in good traffic), we met to celebrate the special friendships we had formed online via our blogs and Skype chats.
And what a celebration it was! Despite the usual travel glitches and mishaps, we shared laughter and talks and gifts and reflections, leaving memories that will last well beyond our brief time together. Referring to Herschel’s quote, we were certainly entertained and amused by each other, but those were secondary to the celebration of what we had already shared in becoming part of each other’s lives through the magic of words and photographs.
One of the nicest gifts you can give yourself is taking time to celebrate your friends and loved ones. It doesn’t have to be a spectacular feat such as this get-together was, though it’s well worth the effort if you can manage to pull it off. But in reality, such extraordinary times are relatively rare.
That’s not a problem. Our big event started in small, everyday celebrations, moments that are within everyone’s reach. It can be as simple as a card, a handmade gift, a special photograph or a shared cup of tea. As Herschel reminds us, our actions can and often do have transcendent meaning. Let’s act in ways that celebrate the gifts of being alive, loving and sharing!