Laughter thrills me. And it fascinates me. How many laughs do you know? I’m going to hazard a guess that most of you have seen the movie Mary Poppins. Do you remember the song, I Love to Laugh? The laughs that were heartfelt, sincere, and based in freedom were clearly the favorites. This is true for me as well. My favorite memory of a laugh is my kids’ tickle laugh when they were little… especially my now-24-year-old son’s because he liked to be tickled more than the others. My favorite laugh to elicit from anyone is the laugh that comes from an unexpected turn in the conversation.
I don’t remember how much I laughed as a child, but my parents have told me I was a very happy child. If my mother reads this, she will (hopefully) comment a response. I went for several years not laughing much at all… because I thought that was the way I was supposed to be–sober and grown-up. In the self-discovery stages I’ve gone through in the last several years, I’ve realized that I truly do love to laugh. I started by just smiling more, then quietly chuckling… now I just laugh right out loud if something tickles me.
There are some things that can make me laugh every time till the tears flow and my tummy hurts. Almost every episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? is laugh-out-loud funny. Clean, clever improv is one of my favorite forms of entertainment. I like stand-up comedy, too, but improv fascinates me with its cleverness, quick-thinking creativeness, and intelligence. It’s exciting that it can go any direction at the slightest twist.
By sister and best friend Jeannie can always make me laugh. She and I can have entire conversations without uttering a word, or with only talking in movie lines. She gets me like no one else, and I’m grateful for how she’s held the pain and laughter of my soul in her hands for 52 years. Our conversations are not complete until there has been real laughter. My favorite is when she makes me laugh so hard my face gets all dorky looking.
My favorite friendships are the ones in which we are fully comfortable with laughter and tears—sometimes tears from the laughter, sometimes laughter from the tears!
I pray your days may be filled with heartfelt, healing laughter. Choose it, make it happen, and embrace it!
And now, I leave you with some beautiful thoughts about laughter:
“When the first baby laughed for the very first time, the laugh broke up into a thousand pieces of light, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. So now every time a new baby is born, its first laugh becomes a fairy.” – Sir James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan
“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” – Mark Twain
“A good laugh heals a lot of hurts.” – Madeleine L’Engle
“A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.” – Carolyn Birmingham
“I never would have made it if I could not have laughed. It lifted me momentarily out of this horrible situation, just enough to make it livable.” – Viktor Frankl (Holocaust survivor)
“Laughter is the corrective force which prevents us from becoming cranks.” – Henri Bergson
“We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh.” – Agnes Repplier
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” –Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol