Credits roll on Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2

We were the last to leave the still darkened cinema of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 last night, after everyone else bailed out as soon as the credits started rolling. We’d been alone for a while before Cam asked why I always insisted on staying until the end of the credits.

My reply was that it was a ritual – almost a tradition – that I upheld, but it got me thinking about why it was so important.

I love a great movie or a gripping book for the immersive experience it gives me; that sense of having stood in the shadow of the characters and shared their journey. Getting so caught up in a story like the deep-sea diver who lives for a time as part of the underwater universe that he is visiting.

And in the same way that I appreciate the magic of nature, I am grateful for the experience that a brilliant movie can offer me.

Staying to watch the credits roll is, in part, about respecting the efforts of all the people who contributed to bringing that movie to life; and to my life.

And these days, that list for each movie is very, very long.

When we are able to appreciate and hold gratitude for something that moves us, there is a hidden gift. We learn not to take things for granted, and especially, we acknowledge the impact of the emotion that was evoked within us.

But there is also a sense of not wanting to let life diminish the power of the experience too quickly.

Why race out of the cinema, into the flash flood of life that brings its own competing experiences, to wash away the intensity of what has just been witnessed?

So I like to stay in the cocoon of the cinema as the credits roll, and simply sit with the feelings and thoughts that the movie has left me with. To mull over my reaction, what I most enjoyed, and even what niggles at the back of my mind.

Then, as the final credits give way to the studio logos and the lights start to lift, I can step slowly back out into the world knowing that I’ve honoured the experience I’ve just had.

The fact that last night was also the end of an era, made my ritual more poignant. What might be different without the courage of Harry, Ron, Hermione and the other characters I’d come to know and love?

So whether you’ve ever watched the credits of a movie until the end, personally thanked a chef for a delicious meal or written to an author of a book you loved, it is worth pausing for a breath and asking yourself:

What experiences touch your soul?

What experiences do you get caught up in?

What could you take a few extra moments to appreciate, to savour?

Then promise yourself that you’ll honour that experience next time you get a chance.