Isn’t it funny how we laugh?
We end up pushing air through our mouths (like we always do) but this time the wheezing, barking, brays, cackles, giggles, chortles, howls, snickers, snorts, hee-haws and chuckles that come out have no particularly articulated meaning. Except to express that something is causing us to bodily express our sheer joy and cheer.
Isn’t that funny?
I think it’s amazing how so many people laugh at so many different things! God has created us with such varied senses of humours. Sometimes we may find that fact amusing, and at other times we simply don’t understand how someone could laugh in the face of a gaping mistake, or at the expense of a wounded person.
Usually, we laugh when we come across something that amuses us, that is “funny” – whether it’s a reversal of logic and expectations, a humorous wipeout, or comedic relief cutting apart tension at just the right moment. Other times, it’s simply just an overflow of pure joy and enjoyment. For instance, I dare you to imagine the laugh of the cutest toddler you know of and not burst into a grin immediately.
I think it’s amazing how laughter is also contagious! If one person starts laughing, another around them is bound to! Isn’t it so satisfying when you find yourself caught up in a roomful of people just keeling over with genuine laughter? If you’ve ever seen this Coca-Cola ad about a man laughing on a train, then it’s something like that.
Of course, there’s the flip-side: sometimes people laugh at others – not with them. It’s one thing to laugh at someone featured on America’s Funniest Home Videos (they submitted the video, after all!), but it’s another to laugh in someone’s face during a moment of unintentional emotional vulnerability, and humiliate them. That kind of laughter seems to come when a person feels disconnected from others and their pain, and so laughs at their cost. If we stay connected to each other, it helps us to stay grounded in love.
Y’know, it makes me grin just thinking about the how and why of laughing, because isn’t it so weird?! It’s something so physically strange yet happens so naturally. It seems to be a chemical reaction emotionally, where something is produced within that just bubbles up and bursts forth, creating such a feeling that we love and that many of us seek and search for. It’s pretty miraculous!
Do you know the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine?” That’s another cliche, isn’t it? This one even comes from the Bible. (Actually, there are many more common phrases that originated from the old King James Version of the Bible that furthered the English language along, but I won’t loose my English teacher self on you now!). Here’s a newer translation:
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”
If someone needs cheering up, strengthening up, we’ll often suggest to them that they see a funny movie, spend some time with good friends and family or something else that naturally lifts them up and stirs them to positivity.
Laughter is something that we recognize helps us and is good for us. It’s been said that you can gauge how healthy a relationship is by how much laughter is in it, and I would suggest the same for our lives in general. If we never find ourselves laughing with others, no matter how heavy our circumstances, then perhaps we need to more fully seek the Maker of Laughter, and ask Him to give us a spiritual tickle – ask Him to connect us with others and their hearts – heart to heart.
If we do find ourselves spilling over with guffaws and hahas and plugged into others emotionally… well then, my friend, laugh it up!
And so I write to you, “What a Wonderful World!”