I think I have an excess of Humor. I’m not often able to write humorously, but personally I am quite the clown. I delight in finding the quirky, the amusing, the ironic, the down right funny. And — when I’m really on my game, I find something humorous almost everywhere — in the things I read & observe, in the way people express themselves, in the way we wee humans relate to the whole of the Cosmos.
I do this – Finding the Funny — partly because it keeps me from crying. Looking out at the world, at the world we wee humans are collectively creating, I often feel like I’m on the razor’s edge. And I feel I could easily fall off onto either side —> FEAR, anger, hatred, division, seclusion, despair = Unhappy OR —> JOY, patience, love, community, involvement, hope = Happy. The latter is actually more difficult in some ways (& doesn’t that seem counter-intuitive?!?) for somehow it is just easier to give up, devolving into those fear-fueled states of being, than it is to maintain the joy-driven ones. Maybe it seems easier to be angry & hateful because it requires less thinking, less cogitating & evaluating of each moment, less examining of your mind & consideration of your response. Fear is almost the un-choice, as you don’t need to examine your mind at all! Mindful interaction & response has no place in the mind of someone consumed by fear; it takes a lot of effort. Hmmmm, maybe it just can’t find a place in such a mind …………….
But, choose I shall, & I choose to be happy, & involved, & all the rest, so I work at finding things to laugh at, giggle about, smile over. The Laughter Yoga philosophy has taught me a great deal about this, though many sages through the centuries have said much the same thing: Happiness is a choice. It has nothing to do with one’s external circumstances. And, to be happy or unhappy comes down to this: Each is nothing more than a mental habit. I find that laughter makes happiness easier to hold onto.
So, I find the humor, whenever I can. And, so, then, I bring humor to the moment, whenever I can. And I think this following little story, one such occasion, ranks as one one of the finest moments of my life. It is one of the things I am most proud of ………
Years ago, I worked in a Chinese restaurant, which was across the street from an assisted living community. Many of those residents ate at the Great Wall, some coming in frequently. We’d help them navigate through the doors & the tables in their wheelchairs or crutches, & over time, we all came to have personal relationships with several of these folks.
One young gal had been born with spinal bifida, & despite more than twenty surgeries over her life, she was paraplegic, & would always be confined to the chair. Her spirits were always high (whenever I encountered her) & she had a mischievous sense of humor. We got on well, always laughing together, & I would tease her because she always, always, ALWAYS ordered egg rolls. I’d learned to have them ordered when I saw her coming across the parking lot, & they’d be ready when she wheeled up to her table.
Well, for a few days she did not appear. We learned that she’d had an emergency surgery. And she had died on the table. Shocking, it was, completely unexpected, & tragic for her family. The Great Wall sent a ‘delegation’ to her memorial service; I volunteered, as did another waitress. At that time in my life, I didn’t know how to cope with the profound discomfort I feel in the face of someone’s grief, & I could only embarrassedly mumble something to the parents of this young gal. And, I tried to sit far away from them. As you might imagine, they were pale, & numb, & the mother weeped continuously, silently, rocking back & forth while the father patted her awkwardly.
During the service though, there came a moment when the minister asked if anyone had anything to say about the deceased, & I stood up. Though not yet skilled in public speaking, still I wanted to let others know that this daughter, friend, relative, neighbor had been more than just a customer to me. I spoke briefly about the laughter we had shared, her mischievous nature, some of the jokes she’d played on me & others. And I unintendedly giggled a little bit when talking about getting her egg rolls ready before she even came in.
And that’s when it happened: I noticed that several folks were actually smiling, though many tried to hide it: Everyone knew how much she lo-o-o-ved her egg rolls. AND the mother, grieving, hurting, bereft ………. actually laughed out loud. We caught eyes, & she nodded at me.
Bringing a tiny ray of light to that sorrowful mother ………. well, that’s the gift of an excess of humor.