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To Be Joyful and Full of Love

The longer I live, the more
deeply I learn that love —
whether we call it
friendship or family or
romance — is the work of
mirroring and magnifying
each other’s light.
— James Baldwin

We’re in the business of amplification, you and I. Our life’s work is accretive in nature. The longer we’re actively engaged in this world, the more we can contribute of ourselves to the greater good. But we must be engaged.

Our children are a product of our presence or absence their lives, just as we are a product of our own parents engagement with us. This ripple extends to family and friends and those who become more than just friends. We’re each muting or amplifying the best and worst of each other.

The last few years, I’ve seen some people change in profound ways. Maybe it was the pandemic, or maybe it’s their stage of life, or it’s the sum of everything the world dumps on us piling up inside. I remind them that we do have agency. We either shed ourselves of the bile or let it sink into our pores. Of course, we do the same with love. The question is, what do we mirror and magnify?

When I find myself becoming angry and more cynical I find that person repulsive and force that tide of darkness to recede back inward. We all have reason to be angry in this maddening world, but we also have reason to be joyful and loving. Whoever we are will surely be reflected back to us. Choose wisely.

Life is about building momentum. We see this in our careers and work, in our health and fitness, and surely, we see it in our relationships. When we are consistently present and offering love, we build deep relationships with others that carry us through the challenging times and amplify the good times. So reflect on this: we are the sum of our active engagement with others, and when we live well, that sum will resonate long after we’ve left the room. How do we live well? By choosing to be joyful and full of love.

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