“Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God.” Karl Barth, theologian
During much of the early part of my midlife divorce recovery journey, laughter was in short supply. Nothing seemed funny. In fact, everything seemed tragic. The smallest things could bring me to tears. Slowly, slowly, slowly I recognized that laughter is a great healer.
I had heard all my life that “laughter is good for the soul.” “Laughter is good medicine. A sad countenance dries up the bones.” (Proverbs) Norman Cousins in his famous study of humor and healing got pain relief from watching funny movies. He said laughter is like “internal jogging.” Anne Lamott calls it “carbonated holiness.” Somewhere I read that “Laughter is wisdom only faster.”
It seems to be the consensus of religious, cultural, comedic opinion that laughter is good for us. So today … this whole weekend … whenever you can, find something to laugh about. Rent a funny movie. Get some DVDs of old “I Love Lucy” shows or Johnny Carson favorites or even The Andy Griffith Show or Mash reruns. Borrow your grandkids for the day or get a joke book or a cartoon book.
Make light of your situation occasionally. For example, early on in my divorce, I found that when someone asked how things were going, and I said something like, “All I can say is he’s lucky to be alive, and I’m lucky I’m not in jail.” that brought a sigh of relief for my listeners … and for me as well. They were relieved I wasn’t going to cry, and I was relieved to be able to be a little lighthearted about the whole thing, as tragic as it was.
Life if full of problems. The sooner we can see even a little humor in our situation, the better off we’ll be. Just a note: Don’t go overboard. If you are faking it and being too funny and humorous and upbeat about the whole thing, your friends and family will go away saying, “I wonder what she’s on?”
Divorce is not funny. But, if you’re honest, there are some funny situations that occur on the journey. And, if you try, you can find some things to laugh about even in this. Try it. Laugh at something today. See if you don’t feel better after you do. If you have to, rent a funny movie on the way home from work. Or pick up The Sweet Potato Queen’s Book of Love. It will make you laugh out loud.
Here’s something else: I have seen stories about Laugh Clubs or Laughter Yoga. Just thinking about a whole room-full of people laughing or doing yoga and laughing at the same time makes me sort of chuckle inside. Whatever it takes to laugh this whole weekend, let’s try it and see what happens.
“Our mouths are filled with laughter and our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!” Psalm 126:2-3 (NIV)