Life of the Party
Restore to me the joy of your salvation. – Psalm 51:12a (NRSV)
On a pre-pandemic flight, I watched the movie Booksmart. The movie is about the last day of senior year for a high school valedictorian named Molly.
While Molly is using the restroom, she overhears students talking about her being uptight. When she exits the bathroom stall, she defends her rigidity by telling her peers that she didn’t loosen up because she was focused on getting into a good college. She assumes the students making fun of her couldn’t possibly be on paths to success because they partied. To Molly’s surprise, the students she assumed were blowing off school were both partying and studying. She is shocked to discover that everyone seemed to find a balance between schoolwork and a social life but her.
Molly spends the rest of the movie trying to fit four years of partying into one night, regretting her assumption that life has to be all work and no play.
Booksmart was a pleasant reminder that life doesn’t have to be so serious.
Sometimes, we can be like Molly. We find our calling and pursue it with clarity and intention. We can forget that our calling toward a better world is in service of creating a world where we all work less, not more. As Molly learns throughout the movie, finding joy within one’s life doesn’t demean our commitments to making the world better.
As we try to create a future world with more spaciousness, relaxation, and joy, we can’t forget to manifest those things in the present, as often as possible.
If God is a DJ, we are the music. Help me embrace the silly among the sorrow without missing a beat. Amen.
Marchaé Grair is a spiritual director, facilitator, and the Communications Director at Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism. Follow her work at marchae.com.