Before reading this please know that if you are dealing with depression, anxiety, grief and any number of other difficulties in life that seeking professional help is not only advisable it is most likely necessary. I do not advocate EVER using tools such as laughter, praise and prayer alone to help ease the burdens of depression and other such illnesses. There is NO SHAME in allowing God to use all His resources to help you.
“…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” Ecclesiastes 3:4 (N.I.V.)
“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” Proverbs 15:30 (N.I.V.)
The dearest friend I could ever have and I have been separated by hundreds of miles since 1998. During the times we have those “catch up conversations” it is a time of sharing the troubles of our lives but also the joys. Those reunions are seasoned with love, enduring friendship, caring, understanding, compassion and a healthy sprinkling of laughter. We giggle (yes, grown women can giggle) and that compassionate laughter of recognizing the challenges of our own growing up (yes, we are all still maturing) and our surviving.
We laugh at our reactions to the events that have occurred in our families. (Oh the stories our families give us to share!) We laugh at what we were thinking at the time and how it seemed perfectly acceptable then, but which we have to acknowledge now, were impractical or way off base.
Yesterday as we hung up from just such a conversation I realized that one of the things I value and love most about Pattie and the friendship we share, is that we can be so honest with one another and laugh at ourselves through the eyes of the other. We are both “serious” people (well, most of the time) but together we always manage to find reasons to laugh!
The laughter we shared yesterday was much-needed by me and I don’t have a doubt Pattie as well. We are both in stages of our lives where our children are rapidly growing up, our husbands are knee-deep in their careers and we are transitioning ourselves into new stages of life, aging (oh the horror of that realization) and new self-realizations.
Laughter sometimes has to be sought in life. If I allowed myself I could sit and drown in the tears I shed in mourning the loss of the woman I was…mourn the loss of my left leg, my job, my independence…and I confess there are days, sometimes stretches of days, that I do. I sob. I hide away. I MOURN, I grieve and I wrestle with God over the losses, the changes, what I want, who I was and who I am becoming. But, no matter how hard, I do try to find something positive, I try to allow Abba Father to nurture the flame of hope that my relationship with Him fuels. Laughter is often a huge part of that.
My challenge to you today dear reader, no matter what you’re going through is to find some reason to laugh!
- Spend some time with young children as they play.
- Call an old friend and catch-up, share your sorrows but try to find some joy to share as well.
- Put on a CD you love with some upbeat music and dance!
- Crank up the stereo in the house or car and sing to an audience of one!
- Entice your child to share some karaoke minutes with you and laugh at both of you as you sing and dance together!
- Look at some humorous stuff on the internet.
- Pop in a funny DVD and lose yourself in the comedy.
- Watch puppies play.
- Pull out your child’s joke book, the one they read to you and you moan at the bad puns and weak punch lines and read it with the mindset of your child.
- Sit down with someone for coffee who has a cheerful outlook on life and just bask in their being who they are for they are people we need in this world for just this purpose among others.
Yes, I know it’s hard! Yes, for some of you I know what I’m asking seems impossible! Believe me I KNOW!
- I KNOW life can bring you to a place that you feel as if you are down for the count and just can’t get up again!
- I KNOW depression, anxiety, fear and a multitude of other feelings and things can immobilize us! I KNOW my friend, I know.
- I KNOW depression’s heavy blanket can suffocate!
- I KNOW addictions, any addiction, erodes your energy, it takes all of you to fight it.
- I KNOW grief is overwhelming your soul!
- I KNOW you hear that countdown and giving up would be easier, it would be a relief but DON’T GIVE UP! Do this, it won’t make all the ugly go away, I know, but it will help your heart, your spirit to survive.
- Trust me, I KNOW! It’s not a magical phrase or giggle that will erase whatever it is you’re surviving but IT CAN HELP you cope!
“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:13 (N.I.V.)
P.S. I know one more thing, someone is reading this today and tears are pooling in your eyes, grief is tearing at your soul and I want you to know, I pray for you even as I finish up typing this last sentence. God bless!