I posted a question on my Facebook page this morning: “When you hear the word delight, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?” Not unexpectedly, the winners were things related to children, laughter, music, and culinary treats. And “Turkish.”
I experienced something this week that has me thinking more seriously about this seemingly airy notion.
Delight. It’s not something I seek out intentionally. I’m known as a serious guy who champions beauty, but in a capital “B” sort of way. Serious stuff, you know.
I think I may have something wrong here. Or at least unbalanced.
If someone were to ask your advice in moving delight closer to the center of their attention, what strategies would you give them?
Last Tuesday night, having been inspired by the Academy Awards, Anjie and I decided we’d watch one of the nominated/winning films, most likely via Comcast. We’re thinking 12 Years a Slave or Dallas Buyers Club. So I’m sitting there with my remote, punching away, looking at choices, and somehow, I inadvertently hit a combination of buttons I didn’t intend to, and next thing you know, the little window appeared saying “Thank you for your order.”
In a panic, I couldn’t figure out what I’d ordered, and frankly wasn’t very happy about it. Six bucks for something I didn’t intend to buy. It took me a minute to figure out I’d ordered up the compilation of animated short films nominated for the Academy Award. Well, close enough, I thought, and though animation is not my wife’s favorite, after I’d apologized profusely, we settled in to see if there might possibly be something worth watching in these little cartoons.
The first film up was a French film, Mr. Hublot, about a man who takes in an orphan puppy and the lightweight difficulties that come when the dog begins to grow. Simple story, simple characters.
My heart leapt from the very first frame.
Truth is, my mood’s been a bit sour lately. Trust me, you don’t want to hear about it. But suddenly, it was as if the sun had come out, bursting my cloudy world into full shine as this brilliantly executed steampunk city came whirling into my living room. Cogs and counters, wires and whirlygigs, bolts and buckets—the whole design was…well, delightful.
What struck me later was that this simple story delivered in this very particular way in one moment swept the sourness right off my face and out of my mind. My mouth opened in proverbial slack-jawed, wowie-zowie wonder. I laughed from my belly, I leaned forward in my chair, I clapped my hands, and as the other animated films spun out in front of me, I kept thinking, “Wow. Just wow.” Color, wit, hours of work, the risk of the sheer thought of the subjects, the structures and execution, all coming together in a moment to lift this 54-year-old out of my depressive chair.
Yes, the films ended, and life went on, and there are still clouds hovering. But when I think of Mr. Hublot, I smile and see the sun every time.
If delight has that kind of power, I wonder why “delight-carriers” are not intentionally closer to the center of my attention.
A couple of questions: does “delight” have that kind of power in your life? If someone (me) were to ask your advice in moving an intentional pursuit of delight closer to the center of things, what strategies would you give them?