I’ve been watching a telenovela, a Spanish-language soap opera, to challenge myself to learn Spanish in a real-world way. I had the most difficult time choosing one because it seemed that most were willing to go to great lengths to infuse every second with as much drama as possible. Then I remembered one that my teacher had suggested to me a long time ago and as luck would it have it, it was available and it was exactly what I was looking for.
It struck me almost imediately how much emphasis was on how the main characters were feeling – from the grieving husband who felt guilty that he abandoned his daughter at a boarding school when she was three years old, to a young woman who had to decide between serving God as a nun or following her heart wherever it leads, to the lonely five year old little girl whose mother is gone and can barely remember her father – each of them struggle with what they feel in different ways.
One great point that the nun made to the girl’s father is that little children just don’t regulate their emotions as adults do – they simply feel things. They act on their emotions in a way we might consider rash. We might ask: “What possessed you?” or “What came over you to do that?” to denote that to us, emotions can lead us astray. Then again, Jesus did say that we had to be like the little children in order to go to heaven. Perhaps there’s a lesson in that for our emotional well-being.
I remember a Sunday where a little boy had gotten out of the nursery and ran as quickly as he could toward the sancturary. We could hear his little voice excitedly shout: “Daddy!” from the doorway and he only got faster as he ran into his dad’s open arms who had knelt down to catch him. We could hear their laughter as the father rasised his son high up into the air and over his head. It was a stark contrast to how I felt – a fully grown-up individual who usually displayed little – almost no – emotion at all on Sundays. Not so much as a slight smile when my favorite song was being played or a hint of annoyance when I had to sing a song I hated. Sometimes I feel like I don’t really feel much of anything, and it’s on those days when I feel like the furthest thing from a little kid.