Laughter (January 28)


“Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children” (Kahlil Gibran).

WE NEED TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT THERE ARE SOME THINGS IN LIFE TO WHICH LAUGHTER IS THE RIGHT RESPONSE. Sometimes we act as if we thought laughter were nothing more than a concession to weakness, and that whenever we’ve indulged in a bit of laughter we need to return to a serious state of mind as quickly as possible. But that’s simply not true. We may occasionally laugh when laughter is not appropriate, but even so, there are some things that laughter is the right response to. Not to laugh at things that should produce laughter is as unhealthy as it is foolish.

When we encounter something that should cause laughter to bubble up spontaneously inside of us and that doesn’t happen, what is the cause? There might be many reasons, some of which would be perfectly understandable, but very often the culprit is simply our pride. We take ourselves too seriously. Our notion of “dignity” or “maturity” is such that it won’t let us laugh. But that’s unfortunate. As Kahlil Gibran observed, “the philosophy which does not laugh” is not a good philosophy to build our lives upon. It’s one to be avoided.

It’s a curious fact that sometimes we may be feeling quite mirthful on the inside but no one could tell it by looking at our faces. I suggest that it’s a healthy exercise to work on letting physical laughter break out from inside us more often. It’s good to feel joyful, but it’s even better to express that feeling with good, physical laughter!

But what about our relationships with others? Wouldn’t it be a good thing if laughter were allowed to enliven our relationships more often? If it would, then here’s a good gift we can give to those whom we love. In our relationships with them, we can do our part to create an environment where it’s as safe to laugh as it is to cry. Good relationships can’t be made from laughter alone; they also require some sorrow. But on the other hand, if others aren’t sure what our response would be if they ever laughed out loud, that’s not good either.

“Where is home? Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness. Home is where the heart’s tears can dry at their own pace” (Vernon G. Baker).

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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