Waking every morning at my age is a gift and not to be taken for granted. I awake feeling laughter I made it through another night. And blessed.
In the last while I have been a part of a caring group that has enabled me to create the habit of writing morning letters of gratefulness. For me, this practice of feeling grateful has reawakened awareness and mindfulness I had almost forgotten amid my daily caregiving challenges. Most the time what I write is for myself, but sometimes I share because something so deep about the gifts others add to my life has to be acknowledged.
This morning being grateful for laughter brought some beautiful memories. I love to giggle, to chuckle and laugh, but seldom thought about who or what would I be grateful to for making me laugh? I mean I like sweet laughter. Laughter that comes from a happy place of joy and delight. Laughter that takes your breath away and wears you out. Laughter that leaves a smile on your face and in your heart for a long time. Laughter that makes you want to hug the person you suddenly feel so connected to. Such wonderful laughter.
Unhealthy laughter, on the other hand, a sneer, a smirk, even a jeer, any laughter at the expense of another, really is a substitute for crying inside, and does not come from a place of goodness and does not feel right. When I find it hard to laugh on the outside, I am usually feeling bad on the inside. That is not the laughter I want to encourage for me or for you.
My mother loved to laugh, and my sister and brothers, my children and grandchildren, contagious laughter that made tears roll down our cheeks. I loved when we had a good belly laugh, releasing whatever we had so tightly held inside. Nothing was more binding than being able to laugh together. I miss that.
I innately try to laugh with people every chance I get when talking with someone. I generally try to bring laughter into conversations so maybe this morning’s letter can show gratefulness to me for keeping laughter in my life.
I even try to laugh with my loved one, but these days it is always a test because so often he cannot connect the dots to create a reason to laugh. I try to find TV programs that might be funny to him. But even that seldom works. But if I laugh, sometimes he just laughs because I am laughing. Surely, it must feel good to him, even if he is just laughing with me.
It seems that in the pandemic, with less social contact, opportunities for laughter have been replaced with solitude. We’ve zoomed ourselves silly, but the craving for connections, a touch, those real-life hugs, the meetings of the soul still loom unfulfilled. I wonder if others, too, notice that laughter is a missing ingredient.
We can bring laughter back into our lives. Have you ever just laughed because your soul needed to feel the expression of joy moving through your entire body? I have escaped into laughter sometimes just to confirm I have not become a robot living on an island. I am grateful for laughter.
In lieu of real people, some the the cartoons posted online can generate sweet laughter. But laughing to myself, laughing alone, while it may bring a warm smile, does not create the happiness of laughing, even giggling, with someone else.
I notice I’m laughing more about the things associated with the craziness of the aging process, wonderful behaviours of animals, and natural antics of children than about anything personal. Just this week a friend from my high school days…sixty-one years ago…wrote on my Facebook page that one of his best memories was the two of us laughing together. And when I read it, I could almost see him and hear his wonderful laugh. I so wished we could laugh together again.
I am not a comedian, I am not really a comic. But I really do enjoy laughing.
The two ladies from local health organizations who have phoned us for the last forty-six weeks of the pandemic have become friends. Inevitably we find topics that make us laugh together. Stress release is healthy medicine for us all. Find a way to get laughter into your morning routine when you set the tone for the rest of your day.
I hope you will look for situations where you, too, can laugh, out loud, let yourself go, and allow the tears to flow. Enjoy that wonderful feeling of happiness that laughter brings. Feel the blessing that you have this day that you can laugh.
Grateful for Laughter (c) 2021 Judith Allen Shone