By Carolyn Shockey
It dawned on me the other day, as I was reflecting in my quiet time, that I haven't been laughing much lately. Oh, I do get amused at a funny joke or email, but it seems like there isn't much going on to lift one's spirit.
Shortly thereafter, we had a siege of earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and massacres all within a short period of time, affecting innocent people simply trying to live their lives. While some time has passed since then, and the news media is onto other stories, those people are continuing to struggle for basic necessities like clean water and electricity. Having lived through Katrina, and trying to rebuild my life, I can relate to the days of hanging on and hoping for help. Laughter is not a part of life in those times. Before our month of horror, I was looking at my life, and thinking that, while I feel joy and contentment on most days, I still wonder where and when my humor left. I'm sure that I was reacting to all the struggles going on at the time and reliving the anxiety but maybe I do need an attitude adjustment. I must admit I don't get the humor in most comedies and sitcoms these days, and there has been a time or two when I had to read the comics twice to get the point. It just seems I used to get a kick out of things a lot more than I do now. Could it be that I've lost my ability to laugh, or am relying on others to make me laugh, or just not looking for humor in things?
I've decided that for starters, I've got to be able to laugh at myself first. Now, that is not a blank canvas. There are plenty of silly, dumb, or stupid things I do on a daily basis that would certainly bring a chuckle or two. That is, if I'd forgive myself for being hu-man. My pups never fail to bring a smile as I watch them do their doggy things, and I'm making a conscious effort to appreciate them more for all their love and companionship and the joy that they bring. Actually, there is no shortage of things to laugh about, if that is our focus. We just need to be aware of the laughing matters in life and see them for what they are, rather than discounting them.
While all the external, seemingly negative things will go on from time to time, we can't let ourselves become
consumed by them. I have been aware that I have been pulled "off-center" with the recent disasters. I can only do what I can do to help, then get back to seeing humor in everyday events to keep me from taking life too seriously. Just maybe, seeing humor in a situation may help me to change my view and lighten my load.
When the holidays approach, they can bring their share of anxiety into our lives. Perhaps an "old tape" might somehow replay itself. Why not try to find a way to laugh it off, to diminish its negativity? Work to find a way to bring a laugh to others that may be in a sad or bad place during this time. Bringing a laugh to others is a gift that is difficult to wrap but easy to give. It is a gift everyone can give, and a gift much-needed in everyone's lives. Yours will be enhanced in the process, too.