The Easter season brings together many of my favourite things; family, love and chocolate. As I reflected on this time of year and what I wanted to share with you, the movie Chocolat came to mind. Aside from highlighting my love of chocolate, it also brought together the single most important aspect of this holiday- the choice to love.
Set in a small French village on a hill alongside a river, it is late winter/early Spring. The season of Lent is upon us, a universal Catholic tradition taken very seriously by the small community which is dominated by the Catholic Church. The town clerk resides in a building in the centre of town. In the tradition of his ancestors, he has taken on the self-proclaimed role of over sighting the political, religious and moral life of this town, and symbolises the position of authority he traditionally had in the austere lives of the town folk.
Enter a single mother, her young daughter named Anouk and her invisible kangaroo. Here begins the irony of the tale- an outsider by birth, gender, marital status, family status and religion, sets up a ‘La Choclaterie Maya’- a chocolaterie, in this town during Lent. This space gives people the courage to be themselves, and it gives them the choice to love.
Anyone who has ever felt like an outsider to a group can only admire and applaud the audacity of this woman. She is symbolic of all people who, having been marginalised for their difference, refuses to back down or walk away. For this woman, her decision to open this shop was about survival first of all. Lent or not, she had to provide for her daughter and herself, and all she had was her talent for making chocolate. Who could blame her?
The movie goes on to set up a classic style struggle between the power and authority of the church, encapsulated in the one man, and the courage of an individual who was prepared to stand her ground and stare the ‘devil’ down.
Within the struggle grows another theme: the power of one person to draw together other outsiders. A grumpy, dying old woman cut off from her grandchildren; the grandson who defies his mother's command in order to ‘reconnect’ with his grandmother, the battered wife, the lonely widower, the three spinsters, the unhappy housewife with a passionless marriage, the husband and the ‘gypsy-king’ or ‘river-rat’ whose free spirit is a reflection of her own.
In this small chocolate shop, the woman’s skill for making chocolate, her keen intuition and her compassion for people, draws this “community of broken people”- the people who didn’t ‘fit in’ or couldn’t fit in, together. Healing begins as new relationships are built and courage is borne.
As I write this Easter blog, I am mindful that we all have our own belief, experience and rituals during the Easter season. Some of us find meaning in the celebration, mysticism and tradition of the Church, others enjoy Easter as an occasion for family and the pleasure of watching them enjoy Easter delights. It may be that opportunity to take a break, a holiday. Whatever it may means to you, I want to invite you to reflect on what I believe is a universal meaning of Easter, and that is the power of love.
Love heals us.
Love changes us into more compassionate people.
Do you feel broken?
Are you trying to fit in but never feel you do?
Do you experience a space where you can give and receive love? WatersedgeCounselling offers such a space where you can bring your brokenness and experience healing. Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how she can best help you, or press book now to book on the online diary.