The Light of Laughter

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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When I graduated from sixth grade, my exceptionally talented teacher gave me a palm-sized Bible and inscribed it with Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men that they may see good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (KJV).”

I could not imagine what light my teacher saw in me. I was one of those questioning, creative, and sometimes rebellious kids. Unlike my older sister and younger brother, I tried harder, worked longer, and used unwelcome humor to make my points. I saw beauty or goodness in life in things that others viewed as strange. A camera in my head took pictures of stories that had to be told and poetry that had to be written. Agony or ecstasy, I often laughed aloud at the sheer joy of word and picture “potentials.” Did my dear teacher see that wide spirit of light in me? I do know that by that age I was comfortably seeking out people who weren’t afraid of being joyful—even when it was not the sane or popular thing to do.

Over the years, my laughter and humor joined my fascination of God’s wonderfulness in nature and naturalness in people—in a world where change is inherent. My perspective always improves when I find joy in the moment; nevertheless, this adventure sometimes provokes critical, skeptical, and angry responses. In my classroom, students never stop questioning the correctness of integrating joy with learning. Meetings in restaurants and other gathering places with laughing friends and acquaintances often leave spectators aghast and uncomfortable. But there is good news! Occasionally, strangers ask to join in the laughter circle.

Some say that I live in a fantasy world. But my vision merely has a different perspective. Laughter feels good . . . and is essential to my wellness. When I cannot experience or manufacture some joy in my life, I slide into an unhealthy state. So I read until the “joy light” goes on. I write until the “joy lamp” illuminates the space. I sing until the “joy candle” speaks an amen. I walk and cry and pray until morning brings forth the light of day. And most days I pretend that oatmeal is caviar lite.

In this world of mine, at times I am almost alone. Yet the lights of laughter and humor allow me never to be lonely.

I once heard a passerby say: “It is all good.” It is all good. The pain, the love, the journey. It is all part of your uniquely magnificent story, unlike any other. It is all good if we choose love and appreciation for every life lesson that comes our way. And, oh, how our perspective changes if we allow laughter and humor and joy to follow us closely.

Matthew 5:16 in The Message by Eugene Peterson offers another glorious perspective: “I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine!”

Shine, baby, shine.