This week, my son-in-law, Clay, was featured in a Travel Channel show called Bizarre Foods. Because he is the founder of the Arkansas Black Bear Association, the show’s producers contacted him to ask if he could harvest a black bear and cook up some of the meat for the show. That was last year.
Clay had learned that his portion of the program was a mere six minutes long—which was surprising, since the film crew had spent the greater part of an entire day filming him. Still, six minutes on national television is six minutes on national television, so along with a bunch of other friends, Steve and I joined Clay and Misty for a ‘watch party.’ We all gathered an hour or so before the show to eat together; the atmosphere was quite festive (the picture above is our best attempt to capture the scene).
As starting time approached, Clay got our attention (there were about 30 people present). All eyes were fastened on him. Feigning nostalgia of the aged, Clay deepened his voice a mite and said, “There’s something about being on national television for six minutes that makes you reflect back on your life…”
After the laughter subsided, Clay resumed his normal voice and gave the details of how he came to be invited to be on Bizarre Foods and also a few details about the day of the filming. With that ‘insider information,’ the television was unmuted, and we all sat in rapt attention as the show began.
The show opener was energetic with lively music and brief snippets of the upcoming episode. The second we glimpsed Clay on the screen for the first time, a howl of joy went up, and we all clapped like he had just won an Emmy!
We then subdued ourselves and sat through the first quarter of the show watching some fellow Arkansans (the entire show featured people from the Ozarks) hunting rabbits with hounds and then deep-frying the little bunnies. Then a commercial break, and we sat with bated breath wondering if Clay’s segment would be next… Nope. Next we watched some guys doing some night-time spear-fishing. Another commercial break. Again, we waited with bated breath. This time our patience was rewarded when we saw Clay on the screen.
It was so fun to watch Clay in his element (honestly, it seemed longer than six minutes). He was so natural. He was the same on the screen as he was in that living room, quick with humorous one-liners and warm, southern charm.
In that large group, we watched in quietness until the segment was complete, and then—as soon as the screen faded to black for the commercial break—a roar of approval went up as everyone cheered and clapped.
From the day that we learned when the show would air, Steve and I made every plan to watch it. We had put it on our calendars so we wouldn’t forget. The watch party was a last-minute change of plans. Obviously, it would have been simpler and more convenient to watch the show from the comfort of our own living room—but that wouldn’t have been near as fun! Nor would we have been able to share the actual moment with Clay.
The whole experience drove home the magic of “sharing the joy”—which reminds me of the proverb, “Shared joy is a double joy. Shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”
That proverb, in turn, reminds me of the scripture, “Weep with those that weep; rejoice with those that rejoice.” It is my experience that humans are, for the most part, better at the “weeping with” bit than they are at “rejoicing with.” When someone loses a loved one, people gather around quickly to support, console, assist. But it is sometimes difficult to find others to share the joy with. In fact, I have sometimes found myself minimizing joyful news around certain people, if I share it with them at all. For instance, have you ever shared some happy news only to be met with a half-hearted response like, “That’s really great.” Pause. “Sure wish something like that would happen to me.” Talk about a joy-killer!
The watch party was a beautiful example of sharing a friend’s joy and rejoicing with those that rejoice. I haven’t asked Clay, but I bet his joy was doubled by sharing it with his friends. And I know the friends experienced more joy by coming together as a group than we would have by watching the show all alone. It was a potent reminder to me to make the most of opportunities to rejoice with those that rejoice. After all, who couldn’t use more joy in their lives?
Would you say that you’re the type of person that others like to share their joy with? Can you relate to my sentiments about certain people that I avoid sharing good news with?