I had one of those Saturdays this past weekend. The kind that makes my heart full. Actually, it was the entire weekend that made my heart full.

A Home Routes concert Friday evening – a singer/songwriter at the Arbor Gallery Cultural Centre singing about life, loss and love.
A Saturday morning at the Vankleek Hill Farmers’ Market. Always meaningful conversations in a kind of bouncy way as people move from vendor to vendor. A wildlife photographer tells the stories that go with his pictures. I learn that someone loves owls. Andy Perreault tells me he is out on the highway, doing what he can to save our forests.

I fit in a choir rehearsal; children are bustling with pre-concert nerves.

I go to the grocery store; someone many of you know vents his frustration with today’s bureacracy which he seems to be up against on so many levels. In his 80s, he says he is glad he is at the end of the road, because things are crazy. But he still has a sense of humour.

Then I stop in at Heritage Lodge, where a tea and bazaar are in full swing. So many familiar faces, so many cookies to buy! I get a photo of a grandmother with her daughter, a grandson and a great-granddaughter.

And then I am off to the St. Jude Catholic School vendor sale. Again: familiar faces everywhere. Parents working hard to raise funds for their school. I talk about knitting with one of the vendors. And vintage stuff with another. Oh, dear. More cookies to buy.

Back to Vankleek Hill to the Christmas Craft Sale. A focus on artisans. Beautiful things everywhere. Manon Séguin’s creativity seems ever-expanding: her jewellery and decorative items made from glass are each glowing in their own way. And at a favourite vendor: more cookies to buy.

Within a few hours, I am eating a home-made turkey dinner at the Vankleek Hill fairgrounds hall. Sitting with people I know, we talk about the fair. About wood heat. About insurance. About kids growing up.

And so, it took only thank-you applause at the Darkness-to-Light concert at Knox Church on Sunday afternoon to make me lose it.
Yes, in front of everyone.

It was all of those faces in the crowd . . . when my heart had already been filled up the day before.

I know full well that somewhere in time, it has been decided that full-blown displays of emotion are simply not done. I was raised to button it up, keep it together, save it all for later.

Yet my father’s sisters could produce tears at a moment’s notice. My aunt’s eyes would “spring a leak” in the grocery produce department if she ran into me. Just because she was happy to see me. “You look just like your father,” she would say, between sobs. Needless to say, we always got along well!

I realize there is a part of me which tries to stay in total control (see above, where I describe my display of emotion as “losing it”).
And for sure, I wouldn’t want to think of an entire council table erupting into heartbroken sobs over an unbalanced budget, but still: there should be room for some emotion and room for me (and, I hope, you), to forgive if once in a while, some of us hang our raw feelings out there.

Sometimes, as I am out and about doing my duty and taking photographs here and there, the precious purity of intention, the relationships that are like strong, safe threads holding us together and the joyful purpose of doing good seem to shine everywhere.
Let your heart be full, I say. Stop a moment and notice everything happening around you.

And if an unexpected smile, some laughter, or a tear comes to your eye, it’s okay. It is just your heart speaking for you.