What Makes You Laugh?
Where do you find joy?
Do you find it on the toilet seat?
Ok, now before you think I am really strange (or some kind of clean freak, wouldn’t want to give that false impression!), let me explain. Last night I was only asleep for three hours before I was woken by an upset child. I spent another three hours soothing that child and getting her back to sleep. Then I spent another 2+ hours trying to get myself back to sleep. After a while, I finally dozed off. I think I got two more hours of sleep before my 3 year old came in for his morning snuggle. So, needless to say, when I finally got up and stumbled into the bathroom this morning I was a little bit groggy. I lifted up the toilet lid and what did I find? ...JOY!
No, seriously. There was a big purple sticker that said “JOY” affixed to my toilet seat (I’m going to have to have the “stickers go on paper, not on anything else” talk with my 3 year old again, not to mention that crafts aren’t supposed to happen in the bathroom, eww!). It was certainly unexpected that my first smile and laugh of the day would come from the toilet. But it did. Isn’t laughter a powerful thing? I left that bathroom a lot more clearheaded and ready to face the day than when I entered it (and not just because my pregnant bladder had gotten some relief!).
There is nothing that makes me laugh like my kids (sorry Hubby, but it’s true!). They just can be so goofy sometimes. Lots of times they make me laugh when they aren’t even trying to be funny, which makes it even funnier. And I love how all of my kids’ laughs are different. My oldest is more of a “heehee” laugher. My second outright guffaws right from deep inside of her. My third, he giggles. So cute! And number four often does an “Oh! Hohoho!” like some kind of surprised Santa. Can’t wait to see how number five laughs!
Do you remember the song from the original Mary Poppins movie, “I Love to Laugh”? It’s from the scene where Mary Poppins takes the children to see a relative of hers and he has the uncanny ability to raise up into the air when he laughs. I think this scene is a wonderful picture of how joy and laughter can lift us up. It makes us feel lighter, freer, and makes me a “merrier me”.
Some days it is hard to be a “merrier me”. I remember one particular evening last week. It was a super busy day. I think we left the house in the morning and didn’t get home till right before dinnertime. Rushing from one errand or appointment to another and then on to ballet. I was totally exhausted and sore and the kids were being especially slow and unresponsive to my instructions (they were tired and overwhelmed by the day too, I’m sure). One child had especially exhibited some naughty behavior, and though I had dealt with it calmly at the time, I was worn out by the effort. I wanted to just throw dinner on the table, leave the kids there with daddy, and crawl into bed… But I didn’t. We all sat around the table and held hands and bowed our heads.
I can’t even remember how it started. I think one of the kids accidently called Papa “Poppy” when he was saying his prayer, and started giggling. His laugh was infectious. Soon we were all laughing. Then anything that was said after that just kept getting funnier and funnier. I even had a hard time keeping a straight face when I made my son confess his naughty behavior to his daddy (it’s a good thing that daddy is better at hiding his laughter than I am). I felt such a load lifted from me during that meal. I think we all did.
One of the most famous quotes of the beautiful actress Audrey Hepburn is: “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person.” Miss Hepburn may have been on to something. Do you know that “laughter therapy” is actually a thing? Some hospitals use it to help their patients reduce anxiety, increase quality of life, and boost their immune system.
Joy really is powerful stuff. So where will you find it today? I encourage you to look for it in the little things. Your child’s smile. The movement of the trees in the wind. The little bird singing outside your window. There is so much to see if you just look.
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” No matter what ails you, I pray you will find the joy you need to get you through the day.