“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.” Psalm 126:2
Life is either a great tragedy or a great comedy. Shakespeare wrote about both, didn’t he? Actually, life probably is both, but how we view it is a matter of perspective. For most of my life I’ve had the good fortune of living in the perspective of the latter. Both my parents maintained a great sense of humor about life as has my spouse of forty-three years whose morning activities have always included reading the comic section of the daily newspaper. Seldom is there a morning in our household that does not begin in laughter. Cowgirl, our beloved Blue-Heeler for example, cracks us up by the way she begins the day. An early riser, she is always up before the crack of dawn dancing around wagging her tail, demanding that we get up and join her in the day’s activities. Her enthusiasm is so infectious we have to laugh. She’s just so dog-gone funny!
What is it about pets and comic strips that make us laugh? Could it be that they cause us to laugh not so much at them but at ourselves? Dogs after all are just dogs except that we tend to personify them by imagining human thoughts going through their heads, the same silly thoughts that go through our own. And comic strips, well that is their purpose to magnify human absurdities making us laugh at ourselves.
The ancient story about the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden tells of the origin of this big mess we are in that is both tragedy and comedy. It is tragedy because no matter how hard we try we can never completely straighten it out. Yet it is comedy because as the comic writers and jokesters help us see, we humans are pretty hilarious characters when we get too full of ourselves thinking we are gods – or God – believing we DO have all the solutions. So, we must choose to either laugh or cry.
Me? I prefer laughter. I figure that even though we people of “good will” do endeavor to make the world a better place we ultimately fall short. So we need to be able to laugh at ourselves. And the good news is that God loves us anyway. So when our mouths fill with laughter and our tongues with songs of joy, that in and of itself helps others do the same, which in turn makes the world a better place.