Laughter, if just for a moment, takes the edge off the seriousness of death and tragedy, expands our world view, and more than anything else allows us to let go of our inflated self-image, our bloated pride and self-importance.
Laughter clears the playing field, reduces levels of stress and gives our body the boost it needs to help fight off the effects of depression and loneliness.
When we take off the rose colored glasses, we stop embellishing or diminishing ourselves through impractical comparisons, and realize that we are all God’s creatures subject to both humor and divine intervention. When we stop taking ourselves so seriously, we are able to laugh at the flawed parts of our nature while celebrating the parts that give rise to creative energy.
We are not “more than” others – but are a mixture of good and evil struggling to survive. Humor teaches us we are still “okay” with all our deficits as well as our emotional toughness. Besides, we are not as tough as we want to believe we are and not as powerful as we profess to be. When we can laugh at our own puffed up status, we are able to lift others up and laugh together.
Laughter when not used to demean someone is a bridge to acceptance and tolerance. When we accept ourselves, just as we are, and accept life with all its upsets, disappointments, and burdens we are able to bring that ray of hope and sunlight into the darkness of the moment. It chases away the fog of depression and sweeps the dark clouds from our prison cells of rigidity.
We all enjoy the spoofs by comedians of people who make themselves too pompous or self-important. Their humor reveals the ridiculousness of most of our actions. Their spoofs teach us the importance of taking off our masks of smugness and self-importance and laugh.
Life is full of pain and sorrow – illusion and disappointment. But when we take that plunge and laugh, we are rewarded with a larger picture of life. And in the process, we get a glimpse of the gold in the dark threads of life, as an anonymous author wrote:
“My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me,
I cannot choose the colors, He weaveth steadily.
Sometimes He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper and I the underside.
Not ‘til the loom is silent and shuttle cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful in the weaver’s skillful hands,
As the ones of gold and silver in the path that He has planned.”
Laugh. And if you cannot laugh yet, smile. Make it a purposeful goal of each day, to see the humor that lies underneath the tragedy. Instead of walking under the dark clouds, flip your day over and walk on top of the darkness with the full sunlight on your face. And you’ll find yourself walking with our Savior.