I read a quote on someone's Facebook wall the other day that said something to the effect of "Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh." (W.H. Auden) I really like that. And in my life at least...it is certainly true.
I've enjoyed friendships with people who were dour...for a season. I've learned what I've needed to learn and moved on. Maybe they were coworkers or people who just could never quite see that their whining or incessant wound licking drove people away in droves. Oh, I don't mean the temporary complaint about something awful or a brief period when they were understandably down and out over somebody's raging stupidity...but a true commitment to being miserable...as if there was no alternative.
I find that the people that really get close to my heart are the ones who can make me laugh. They see the hilarious even in the mundane. Have a problem? You can count on this type of friend to point out the ridiculous so that you are laughing through your tears. Every day to them is an adventure...they start out in one direction, and before they know it end up somewhere totally unique and different. These people take you along for the ride and make the road of life much more fun to travel in the process. Anything can spark a story...a trip to the grocery store, a baby shower gone bad, or a trip of any kind. They seem to be distant relatives of the Griswolds and they end up with almost certain disaster in any given situation...without even trying.
We have all sat as family members and laughed at something that only we understand...such as the time when we lived in a one bathroom apartment, my parents were staying with us, and all four of us had a raging stomach virus. Granted, it wasn't funny at the time, but now to recall the fact that we weren't sure if the awfulness of the situation or the Lysol poisoning (if such a thing exists) was worse...is dang hilarious.
Or the trip to Europe that included freezing rain and granted me the wish of seeing (for the first time in my entire life) my mother just giving it it up on the hair and wearing a hat. She looks like Gilligan in some of the pictures. Or a particularly ill-fated trip that involved rowing on the same European vacation that almost ended in a brawl as six competent adults could not figure out how to get a canoe down a stream without bouncing off the creek banks.
I still smile when I think of that.
I think that laughter is an important component to endearing us to one another. When we have any family dinner...my nieces and nephews jab each other verbally, and one of my nephews has such a sense of fun that he pretty much keeps us rolling with laughter. He's getting married in a couple of weeks, by the way, and I'm pretty sure that he'll be on his best behavior. But then again...knowing him...if something even remotely funny happens...we will all be embarrassing his future in-laws during the reception or something equally horrible. I mean, sometimes you just have to laugh when he gets wound up...and he certainly is a master at stirring things up.
Kind of like he did while we were waiting what seemed like an eternity during "family photos" at the other nephew's wedding. I thought for a few minutes that we might actually get evicted from our pew into the parking lot.
My daughter says things to me sometimes that just crack me up. She doesn't always mean to...but just the way she will say something is beyond hilarious. And my husband laughs so much while he is telling you a story, that it takes all of your powers of concentration to get past that so you can hear what he has to say. My son just makes me smile because he's 17 and feels that it is incumbent upon him to argue every point I ever make...for no other reason than because he's 17 and awful in ways that only a 17 year old can be.
My family loves to laugh, and I have an uncle that can remember more jokes than anyone I've ever seen. He will pop them to you rapid fire and keep you laughing. He used to drive my grandmother absolutely nuts because she was trying to do something like get dinner on the table and couldn't get him to shut up long enough to get any help out of the rest of us.
The people in our lives who makes us think, who inspire us, and who show us great mercy or love are wonderful. But the people who make us laugh move right into our hearts. They don't wait for an invitation. They just make themselves at home.
One day - probably right about the time we are beginning to think that we might survive getting these children of ours educated and out of this house - some young man and young lady will show up at our door...hopefully wanting to join the family circle. I just hope that they make me laugh.
Life can be difficult sometimes, and we all know people that can use our prayers or a helping hand. But sometimes, the gift that they really need is the ability to see the lighter side of life...and the reminder that as much as we'd like to map our destinies...sometimes we make God laugh by telling Him our plans. Because I'm such a planner...I can almost swear that sometimes I hear Him laugh hysterically.
I hope that today we will be more aware of those people who cross our path that make us happy to be in their presence. Who make life a little easier by just letting us drop the burdens for awhile. And to those people who take life so seriously that they can't ever relax enough to have any fun...my advice is to lay it down. Quit exhausting yourself. Smile more...worry less. We'll all be better for it.