Standing ovations always make me cry.
Without subtlety or reservation, my heart melts at the sight and sound of a crowd rising to their feet as they roar with cheer, shouting as loud as their voices will carry. As the echoes of applause fill the room, no matter the musical, movie or ceremony, a familiar lump forms in my throat.
I’d love to tell you that my salty tears trickle delicately down my cheek as I lightly pat my eyes with tissue (the kind of classy and composed weep you see actresses do so beautifully on-screen) Yet, if I did, I wouldn’t be painting a true picture of the seriously soppy scene. In a not-so-graceful fashion, my tears spill down my face like milk. My cheeks turn rosy red with emotion, and my voice runs dry from cheering with such vigor.
The crowd isn’t standing for me. In fact, my presence is lost and mostly unknown in the noise of the room. However, all the more, those brief moments of unified joy move a world within me.
Those brief moments of unified joy move a world within me.
Perhaps I’m a little too soft. But stay with me while I tell you more.
In the movie “The Holiday,” there’s a scene toward the end of the film where screenwriter Arthur Abbott (who, of course, introduces us to “gumption”—the iconic meet-cute and the “you’re the leading lady of your own life” concept) receives a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the film industry.
As elderly and ever-charming Arthur arrives at the ceremony—smartly dressed in his suit—the music plays, and the auditorium doors swing open. Much to his surprise and humble dismay, there’s a sea of people waiting to greet him—clapping, whistling and celebrating. He takes a step forward and walks through the crowd, shaking the hands of his comrades and friends.
Upon reaching the end of the aisle, he approaches a small set of stairs, which he has to climb in order to reach the stage. All eyes are on him.
Though offered a helping hand to assist him, Arthur decides to take a leap of faith. Fueled by the praise of his friends and unfazed by his old age, he says, “I’ll do it,” before bounding up the stairs with determination, gumption and a lively spring in his step.
The camera remains focused on Arthur before panning around the room to show the crowd as they continue their heartfelt applause. Despite his many achievements and accolades, Arthur didn’t believe his life’s work was worth much. Those who loved him, however, fervently showed up to celebrate him—commemorating his triumphs and wins, even when he wasn’t sure if they were due any honor at all.
Those who loved him, however, fervently showed up to celebrate him—commemorating his triumphs and wins, even when he wasn’t sure if they were due any honor at all.
While life isn’t a movie and standing ovations won’t usually play a part in our everyday schedules, there is deep joy to be found in celebrating the brilliance and beauty of those around us. In big and small moments alike, supporting our friends will never grow old.
Like Arthur leaping up the steps to the ceremony stage, encouragement and acclamation can go a long way. With a gentle nudge, a word of kindness, a “you can do this” and a warm smile of support, we can empower those around us to go the extra mile—to reach higher, stretch further, imagine greater and finish stronger.
Our love and belief in them, consistent and honest, can help shine a spotlight on the goodness and gold they haven’t yet seen in themselves.
There is deep joy to be found in celebrating the brilliance and beauty of those around us.
As human beings, we have been designed to walk through life together. It’s important to remember that the strengths and successes of our friends, family and even strangers do not negate or diminish our own. Our victories still belong to us. But how much sweeter would they be if we shared them with the people near and dear to us?
The pure and sincere celebration of others is a privilege we get to enjoy when we live in community. In fact, sharing in their happiness is one of the richest rewards of a life lived well.
The same light that shines on them as they win the award, overcome the struggle, run the race, achieve the grade, get the job or fulfill the dream, shines on us too. Let us remember this as we stand to our feet in the auditorium, join the chorus and cheer from the very top of our lungs for the ones we love.
How well do you celebrate the victories, big and small, of the people in your world? Why is it important to share in the victories of others?
Image via Koty, Darling Issue No. 24