How many times have you heard “If I don’t laugh I’ll cry”? Shared again just this morning, it hit me that I hadn’t had a good belly laugh in a few days. You know the ones…your side hurts, a snort might sneak out, and you laugh again later just thinking about it.
Like my faith~deeply rooted~humor has provided soft landings for hard falls. I’m native to a giggling homeland. My youngest son once said “I love how our family can laugh-even during hard times.” That hit me right between my heart chambers.
It was 1988~My wombmate (a.k.a. twin) and I were singing for the Chamber Choir of Southwest Missouri State University. Humor did not have a place at any practice. Dr. Guy Webb, choir director, was an amazing talent. He was demanding and picky~and not what I would describe as “humorous” by a long-shot. And you had better not “scoop”. To “scoop” meant you would start at a note and slide up to the note you SHOULD be singing. Simultaneously, the two of us scooped (very loudly) to a….wrong note. “Oops-a-daisy!” Things spiraled quickly. “Do not look at me!” I thought to myself. And we did it. We made eye contact with one another. NO, it wasn’t with Dr. Webb (had it been things probably would’ve remained dignified). Instead, our twin eyes caught one another and it began. IT ALWAYS begins with just a tiny giggle. And when the shoulders start to dance, it’s never a quiet outcome. Needless to say the practice had a small intermission (I’m sure other singers might agree it was needed).
Perhaps I could write a memoir titled “Times I laughed when I shouldn’t have laughed and most people would not laugh, but the weird ones like me would get it.” (WAYYYY TOOOO LOONNNGGG of a title anyway).
You see, I had to (have to) laugh. In every situation, whether sad, frustrating, horrific, unbelievable, or even catastrophic, there lies deep in my soul a pint-sized risible region. And also, residing there, is the ability to understand irony. This developed at a very young age. As a child (and now) I remember learning to understand others. And humor played a huge role.
Without diving into brain research on child development, my experiences as an educator guided me to help students develop imaginations and spot incongruities. I understood students who “got” the joke~and also those who didn’t. We all process different. Brains process humor differently. Disney and Pixar movies are loaded with humor that we, as adults, understand (and some young ones do too). It’s a joy to watch little people develop their humor.
Sadly, there are some that can’t laugh. Maybe due to a physical or biological reason. Or because they are in despair and find no reason to smile or even laugh. I’ve been there. I understand.
There’s nothing funny about the turmoil I see in our world. It doesn’t “tickle” me to witness loss of laughter in some, illness in others, hate spewing from a few or a pew, and people tearing one another down because of their own inability to love others with an open mind and no judgement. To let go of the perceived knowledge that EVERY person should think like YOU, be like YOU, dress like YOU, love like YOU, believe like YOU, walk like YOU, talk like YOU, and laugh like YOU.
There are many situations in my life that have brought tears. And when I have laughed so hard I cry,….well, those are the tears I hope we can ALL shed as much as possible. Try to make someone smile. In this complicated, and sometimes dark times, I pray you find a reason~any reason, to laugh. In contrast to my “brittle” bones, requiring much faith and attention, my funny bone seems to be more resistant to fracture. And my backbone stays strong too. Humor me…even if I’m not funny, I’ll still choose happy.