At any moment in time, things can happen that will disrupt our day. But we can learn valuable insights during such times. Disruptions can become profound teachable moments. Such an event occurred to me.
I was washing clothes, preparing for our family to leave the following day on a camping trip. The water flow going into my washing machine was exceedingly slow. I had been improvising by attaching a hose from my laundry tub faucet to my washing machine to fill it.
When the phone rang in our office, I didn’t bother to shut off the faucet, thinking I would only be a minute.
“The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.” -H. G. Wells
One of the greatest benefits you will ever have when going through difficult times is the ability to laugh at yourself and your circumstances.
Research indicates that laughter has a positive effect on our brains – it literally changes the brain.
Even in the midst of distress and anxiety, we can find something that can make us smile or laugh. We can find that drop of humor in any difficult situation, and when that happens, the resulting laughter can instantly transport us to another world.
When I was healing from the losses of my husband and then my son, I was writing and working with others on similar journeys.
As I read, studied, and took additional training about healing from loss as a therapist, a book written by Linda Richman captured my attention. We seldom think of humor as important when grieving, but it not only is relevant and but can be instrumental in our healing process.
In her book, “I’d Rather Laugh: How to Be Happy Even When Life Has Other Plans for You,” Linda Richman tells her story of pain from the losses in her life, culminating in the loss of her young son and working through that tragedy with humor.
Years ago, I was asked to give a speech to a group of teachers in the U.K. In that speech, I shared some of the stories my father-in-law used to tell my kids about when he was a kid.
Their much-loved Grandpa Bert was an easy-going guy, with seemingly not a care in the world, who drove my mother-in-law crazy. Here is one of his stories.
Bert attended a small, rural school. He was not a student of academia – in fact, he hated sitting in the classroom. During recess while other kids were busy jumping rope or throwing ball, he was busy exploring the tall grass around this little country school, looking for wonderful things such as worms, caterpillars, bugs, frogs, etc.
“I learned that we can withstand a lot of pain and loss and not just survive it but rise above it. I learned that no matter how sad you are today, happiness and laughter and even joy are still distinct possibilities for tomorrow, or if not tomorrow, the day after that. And I learned that you and I have in our power the ability to get all that and more. . . no matter what horrible thing has happened; life still offers you humor if you want it.”
We think of losses as something we quickly address and then dismiss. But the more significant the loss, the more the impact it has on every area of our life: social, financial, personal, family, friendships, and our past as well as our future.
Loss asks the question, where do I go from here?
There are many books on the market that speak to that early universal pain. We can experience a multitude of emotions: shock, anger, fear, anxiety, relief, shame, guilt, etc. Our pain will gradually recede as life demands we engage again to pay the bills and feed our families. But little information is offered to help us create a new roadmap moving forward.