So what do you get when a blond beauty, a feisty Irish lass, and a grandmother can’t find time to converse about laughter?
[wait for it …………….]
Answer: This post (we hope you’re not disappointed)
THREE SEPARATE THOUGHTS ON LAUGHTER
(Carla first …)
I will never forget the moment my friend and I laughed uncontrollably. We were in a college course where students were presenting the themes of a musical composition. One presentation was based on Beauty and the Beast. My friend and I were the older supposedly “more mature” students in the class (as we were later reminded), and our professor was a quite serious Julliard graduate. Life was sweet, but heavy. We were both working, and had a hefty load of studies on our shoulders. When this dear student was playing the music, I leaned over to my friend and in jest said, “Come here you beasty man.”
Time stood still and we belly laughed as quietly as we could, yet uncontrollably. I had to leave the room. It was a moment that we wished we could invite everyone into, but we feared that to explain would only cause shock at our lack of respect for this dear student presenting. Had to be there, but for us it lightened the load, sucked out the serious, and in that moment – nothing else mattered.
There are countless times through the years I’ve sat with friends or family and just laughed at something. But I also remember many times I could’ve laughed but instead reacted poorly – and the moment was gone. My girls like to scare me, and I do not find it funny. But I’ve wondered lately, what if instead of being irritated, I grabbed them up and started tickling them or made a funny comment like, “next time, I’ll get you my pretty!”?
Sometimes laughter just comes, but often we have a choice to invite it in.
(Now Sally’s turn …)
When I think about each of my parent’s deaths, I think of my three sisters and I doubled over in uncontrollable laughter. It happened at both events. In the midst of the shock and sadness, something completely random struck one of us as funny and that was that. We were all helpless, doubled over and stumbling from the room. That’s honestly the most vivid memory I have of those two terribly sad occasions – laughter. Strange.
I heard a scientist on the radio once talking about laughter. Apparently he’d been involved in a big study on it with brain imaging and all that. At one point the interviewer asked him about marijuana – why it causes people to laugh so much. The scientist said the drug basically overrides all the inhibitions that keep us from laughing at things we would normally find funny.
“Do you mean we naturally think more things are funny than we realize?” the interviewer asked.
“Oh yes,” the scientist responded. “Without the fears and inhibitions and self-consciousness we carry around, we as a species would find most things quite funny.”
I’m not sure how a scientist can know that, but wow – I love that thought. I love to think that we – created in our Father’s image – are a laughing species. I love to think heaven will be filled with laughter. I love to think our parents, in their mysterious passage from life to Life, were somehow joining with my sisters and me in that surprising, healing, most welcome gift of laughter.
(And finally, Christine weighs in …)
This is the most awful story, but funny nonetheless.
So my dad died a little over 20 years ago. I was only 21. I think it was my first real experience of losing a human being to whom I was so attached. I adored that man. His death just crushed my heart. I felt like I lost the only person in the world who loved me.
Oh, also, I was raised Catholic. So when people die, the send off is sooo long and drawn out. It’s exhausting and draining. And, of course, we wouldn’t have been very good Irish Catholics if there wasn’t lots of alcoholic beverage consumption involved as well. At the end of the second night of viewings, a priest comes for prayers and to say a few words. By that time I was cried out and either drunk or hungover. I was sitting in the front row when this very nice man in the frock started speaking about someone that was not even remotely close to the person I was grieving. He had never met my dad and I guess it was a generic send off speech. My oldest sister and I found the entire thing to be so hilarious that chuckles turned to suppressed laughter quickly. I was trying my best to hide it because I didn’t want to be disrespectful. So, head in hands, my body shaking with inappropriate laughter, it looked to the priest as though I was racked with grieving sobs. When he comforted me I could barely contain myself and neither could my sister.
I laughed until tears streamed down my face. And it was a gift to my grieving soul. I swear I needed the relief.
What about you, dear reader-friend … tell us your laughter story. Was laughter ever an unexpected gift to you? What do you think about the laughter study and the scientist’s conclusion? What about Carla’s thought – that we can choose to invite more laughter into our lives?
Do you think God laughs with us?