I’ve just realised that I have been missing something in my life over recent months; a good dose of laughter.
Not just an acknowledging smile from a friend or a loved one but the deep wrenching awkward moment when you laugh so hard that you can’t laugh anymore. When laughter has you gasping for air, clapping like a seal performing at Sea World or consciously crossing your legs unable to breathe or talk. The kind of laughter that has you emitting that awful snorting sound of an unbearable lack of control.
There have been times when that kind of laughter has overtaken me to such an extent, that when everyone else has quit laughing, I continue to gasp for air. The more you try to gain composure, the more your body and mind turns against you and renders you a blabbering fool!
These precious shared times have been a constant with my husband. Just out of nowhere a moment can bring us to uncontrollable-losing-our-breath-laughter. It always ends with us both feeling free and cementing our love and friendship in a way that words just can’t describe. It leaves us with exhilarating joy and relaxation, freeing us into a companionship of exhaustion.
Laughter is warmth. It attracts joy, releases negativity and leads to deeper relationships.
Joy, humour and laughter should be a part of everyone’s spiritual life. They are gifts from God and help us enjoy creation and humanity. Joy transcends language and cultures; it’s the shortest distance between people and can break down barriers whatever they may be.
Anyone who can bring the spirit of laughter into a room is indeed a blessing. They should be cherished. Laughter connects you with people. It holds a space that does not recognise differences. It makes me a better person. Laughter makes my face ache, it makes me cry with happiness and frees my soul. When I remember the times that I have laughed with others, the feeling rises within me automatically.
Children bring a different level of happiness. Those special moments of laughing with a toddler about something entirely nonsensical or watching them innocently blurt out their growing observations of the world. It’s pure happiness when you see them tell their first ‘knock knock’ joke, not understanding, but surely receiving the desired effect of making others laugh. Children learn to laugh before they learn to talk.
Laughter is a mechanism that everyone has and is part of a universal human vocabulary. There are thousands of languages, but everyone speaks laughter in pretty much the same way. Scientists and behaviourists agree that laughter therapy has some social benefits, like strengthening relationships, improving teamwork, reducing conflicts, and making oneself more attractive to others. Laughter therapy can be a significant enhancement to the lives of those coping with terminal illness or stress management.
I read this week something by Anne Lamott, American novelist and non-fiction writer, progressive political activist, public speaker, and writing teacher.
‘Fun and laughter is the reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day. It is carbonated holiness’
Reading this truth was a ‘light-bulb’ moment. Each of us acts and react so differently on so many levels. It would be boring if we all were the same. The meaning of laughter sums up the physical expression and emotion. Laughter shows mirth or delight and has spontaneous, usually unarticulated sounds that are often accompanied by corresponding facial body movements.
There are many scriptures that tell us that God wants us to be happy, content and able to free ourselves from negativity.
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting – Job 8:21
Laughter is the best medicine; laughter is poison to fear and doubt, laughter is good for your soul, and it’s a binding emotion and the language of the soul.
‘The body heals with play; the mind heals with laughter and the spirit heals with joy’ – Proverbs 3:8
Comedians can make you laugh and smile, books and films can stir up feelings of contentment and ‘warm and fuzzy’ emotions. But true, sweet, shared laughter of the soul and spirit, is beyond anything practised, rehearsed or mimicked.
It’s the experience of losing all control and sharing that sacred moment with another to fill the pause with inexplicable joy. Shedding all inhibitions and fear and exchanging a golden moment of restoration. Feeling the sweet pain of an aching body with tears streaming faces and the constant plea of ‘stop it hurts’.
I think we should try and be intentional about bringing a little laughter into our lives, put the politics, money, work, burdens aside and be filled with God’s joy that brings the laughter of total abandonment.