I remember a number of years ago, our company, The Smith Group, had purchased (at my recommendation) another company that was technically bankrupt. It was my responsibility to manage a “soft receivership” which meant renegotiating all of the short and long term debt at $.10 on the dollar. While in the process, sales revenues significantly declined and losses were substantial. Things just couldn’t seem to get worse. One of the VPs who was a previous owner of the recently purchased company, had a few simple words of wisdom for the young manager. Jim said to me, “Merv, in all that you do, don’t loose your sense of humour!”
Sometimes I have been accused of making a joke of everything. But laughing at life is one of many ways I try to manage stress. (Eating potato chips is another!). My attitude is, “what’s the worse that can happen to me?” And if that were to happen, I don’t have anything then to worry about. I know though I can’t always dismiss life with such a simplistic attitude.
With so many life challenges, it isn’t easy to laugh. Just when I recovered from my last corrective surgery in August, I was told I have multiple stones in my gallbladder, one in my kidney as well as a cyst on a kidney. The Doctors at the Medcan clinic have scheduled me to see a general surgeon to plan for another surgery to remove the gallbladder. Another Doctor will be attending to the kidney issues. It’s enough to make a person, including me, cry. But all I can do is laugh.
One of my favourite authors is Dr. Charles Swindoll. He has written a book called “Laugh Again”. I encourage you to read it. In his introduction he says:
“This book is about joy. It’s about relaxing more, releasing the tension and refusing to let circumstances dominate our attitudes.
It’s about looking at life from a perspective other than today’s traffic report or the evening news.
It’s about giving the child within us permission to look at life and laugh again.”
We must take time to laugh, even in the midst of all of life’s troubles.
In the book of Ecclesiastics, there is a poem, “A Time for Everything”, that reads as follows:
For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:
-a time to be born, and a time to die;
-a time to plant, and a time to harvest what is planted;
-a time to hurt, and a time to heal;
-a time to break down, and a time to build up;
-a time to weep and a time to laugh; (this is for you!)
-a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
-a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; (this is for me!)
-a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
-a time to win, and a time to lose;
-a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
-a time to tear, and a time to sew;
-a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
-a time to love, and a time to hate;
-a time for war, and a time for peace.
Swindoll asks: “Can you remember when life was joyful? Life was meant to be enjoyed, not endured and therefore every day find something, anything to laugh about!”
Have you lost your joy of life? When was the last time you had a gut wrenching, tear dripping, throat ripping loud laugh?
Maybe you are in a situation where you say there is nothing to laugh about. Life’s struggles seem to be winning and all you see is despair.
Maybe others have attempted to steal life’s joy from you.
Maybe you have been down for such a long time it has become a normal life for you.
Well it’s time to regain that joyful attitude you once had. It’s time to put yourself above the struggles of life. It’s time to take control of your circumstances. It’s time to laugh at defeat and claim your victory.
Joy is a choice. A poet expressed it this way (Swindoll: Laugh Again):
One ship sails east.
One ship sails west.
Regardless of how the winds blow.
It is the set of the sail.
And not the gale.
That determines the way we go!
I guess that’s why I choose to continue to laugh. Regardless of my situation, I am content. I know some days will be great, others may not be. But it’s life’s continuum that must be assessed. So there is no reason not to be joyful.
How often when meeting a person on a street, in a shopping mall, at the movies, or other places have they asked, “How are you doing!”. If we answered based on the moment, each time the question is asked, our answer may be different. But if we answer based on our entire life, there is only one answer: “Life is Good!”
Tomorrow, find that one thing about your day that brings a smile to your face, a chuckle to your voice, a tear to your eye,.
It’s time for you (and me) to laugh again! And once you and I start, let’s keep laughing,
Thanks for reading and listening. Your comments are welcome.