It’s what happens when you make a movie where the main characters are emotions.
Joy, Anger, Fear, Sadness and Disgust give voice to Riley’s inner turmoil as she grows up and learns to deal with disappointment, pain, anger and happiness. Watching how the emotions process her response to life gave me a picture of how the little ones in my life uniquely deal with their circumstances in their own inimitable ways.
Brooklyn is the youngest. Everything about her is driven by need–empty belly, full diaper, too little attention. Or simple satisfaction and pleasure. There’s no middle ground with her. She’s laughing at life or despairing at her inconveniences. Her emotion would be Giggle/Grump, because she goes back and forth. Which is fine. She’s easier to read and help. And a lot of fun to be with.
Then there’s Ryken. More straight-faced than his cousins. A very serious young man, I often wonder what’s going on in his mind. A little old soul, he’s very intense about everything he does. Focused. Passionate. Persevering. His emotion would be Somber/Sweet, because he can be melancholy, but there are moments of genuine excitement that brighten every part of him.
Huck is nine days older than Ryken and has a perpetual grin on his face. Life is an adventure for him. He lives big–for a toddler. He enjoys life in all its opportunities. He’s energetic, funny and curious. A lover of people. A happy snuggle bug. He’s the Happy Grinner.
Kids are so straightforward. At this age they haven’t developed emotional strategies to work in their favor. They emote with simplicity and purity that speaks to their immediate needs and moods.
Me? I bubble over with emotion. I can cry at the drop of a hat or laugh out loud–really loud. I hurt when those I love are in pain and feel frustration when I can’t help. I become angry at injustice and saddened by the suffering of innocent people. I feel disappointment when things don’t go as I’d planned. I’m fearful and anxious over things I can’t control, fix or help, and yet the sight of a sunrise fills my heart with joy.
I’m a messy conundrum.
There are times when I envy Brooklyn, Ryken and Huck for the sweet simplicity of how they respond to life. They’re not burdened with the heaviness of the confusion of the big picture. Yet.
But it’s through the hard things that I’m learning to appreciate the sweet joys of life. You can’t recognize sweet till you’ve tasted bitter.
In the movie, Joy can’t imagine a life full of anything but happiness and good memories. It wasn’t until she saw the vital role of Sadness in bringing people together that she realized everyone needs joy and sorrow to value the wonder of life as a whole.
God has blessed us by allowing us the chance to feel. To experience the highs and lows of life. To see Him in the midst of every situation. To value the sweet after a mouthful of bitter.
I’m feelin’ it. And grateful for it.