Saturday, December 8, 2012

it all comes back to Jane


"When I reflected upon my own condition, a strange desire to laugh rose up within my heart."
--Shusaku Endo, Silence

Ever since I was an infant, my father has always sung a very limited repertoire of songs to us children. But they become irrevocably and eternally his songs. A great percentage of them were from his favorite Disney movie: Mary Poppins. One song he always sang while changing diapers, tucking us into bed, making Sunday morning brunch, having wrestling matches, or playing house/football tag/tea party was the Mary Poppins song: "I Love to Laugh." Whether it's a genetic trait of the family temperament, or if it was magically somehow impressed upon me through constant repetition of that little ditty, I, like Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, love to laugh (although I've yet to be lifted up to the ceiling by my laughter. One day).

My beloved Lizzie Bennet shares this trait with me. As she tells Mr. Darcy, "I dearly love a laugh." PREACH, my dear Lizzie. Preach.
Besides Lizzie Bennet and Jane Austen, my world revolves around laughter. If you dig around in the archives, they reveal that I've written about laughter a lot on this blog. No one has ever explained to me exactly why we laugh. And so it continues to fascinate me and attracts me by its mysteriousness and its supernatural nature. 

Laughter reveals something incredible and beautiful about a human being. Laughter speaks to our ability to find Joy in the midst of sorrow; it illustrates how we are able to retain perspective in the midst of misfortune; and are able to persevere and adapt, even in the worst situations.
Laughter is the best medicine, they say. 
It's a medicine that saves, that heals, like no other ointment.

It's astounding how, even in the darkest of times, a friend can crack a joke, and a thin little peal of laughter can break through a painful silence like church bells shattering the stillness of the morning air.


There are times when the darkness, even when not unfathomably deep, seems as though it will continue in a grey mehhhness (a freshly minted word. You heard it here first, folks) as far as your life extends. The pervasive mehhhness seems to render the prospect of laughter completely out of reach and out of sight. 
And then, comes that moment--shocking and startling in its pure, simple happiness and complete joy-- when you sit at a sunny table with a dear friend, and share chocolate spooncake, and find yourself laughing. The moment becomes all the more magical when you remember all the other moments that lead to the present: the moments when laughter was so far from your lips, and so foreign to your heart. It makes the laughter taste all the sweeter, as sweet as the chocolate cake on your tongue.

I wanted to take myself out of the moment and marvel at the wonderful, incredible grace of laughter. But instead, I just laughed more.

“I am the happiest creature in the world. Perhaps other people have said so before, but not one with such justice. 
I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh.”
 ― Elizabeth Bennet

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