I was watching an episode of Iconoclasts with Sir Richard Branson and Desmond Tutu. My husband and I watched this episode randomly once and both became obsessed with Desmond Tutu. I have to admit, though I had heard his name before, I didn’t really have a clear understanding of who he was. The episode seemingly focused on Branson, who is interesting in his own right. But there is something that drew me to Tutu. In re-watching the episode my husband and I discussed why Tutu seemed so amazing and determined it was joy. Desmond Tutu, despite all the awful things he has seen, despite all he has gone through, he is full of joy. My husband said something like “he clearly appreciates the little things.”
And I said, “but are the little things really little?” Of course we have big amazing events in our life, the day we marry our soul mate, the day our child in born, the day we get our dream job. These are the things that are easy to appreciate. But the non-monumental events are just as amazing. Its amazing you exist (however you think we got here, God, explosion, aliens) the fact that you take breath at any moment is amazing.
If you watch Desmond Tutu, he has joy that seems to come from a place of awe. He seems to understand that every moment is amazing. That is the only thing I can think that allows someone who has struggled through things like apartheid and still laugh.
In one interview I saw with him, someone asked if he was an optimist and he said no but that he is a prisoner of hope. He is hopeful.
If we could all find such awe and hope. If we could be amazed by our lives on a constant basis, we’d all be a little happier (if you’re not already happy). I know I need to do this. It’s easy to get angry. Its easy to total up the wrongs small and large we feel and just be mad. It’s easy to feel lonely and small. It’s hard to say, “I woke up this morning, I am thankful.” It’s hard to appreciate the people in our lives because there is days they have let us down and we don’t know if we can forgive.
But if you could think about how amazingly rare things like friendship, love, life are. We all have struggles, some bigger than others. But if the good things can amaze us, the bad may seem a little smaller. If we could laugh like Desmond Tutu on a regular basis and see the little things as big things. As huge things in fact, we’d probably share his joy.