Have you ever had one of those days when you find you are sulking in your sadness? Maybe work isn’t going well, or family life is a little nuts. Whatever the case may be you feel down, sad, maybe even depressed. These emotions are very powerful. For some they are crippling.
I had a friend in college that was from Iraq and he would tell me about growing up there during the Desert Storm conflict. This was pretty depressing stuff. There was one thing he said in passing that stuck with me and it wasn’t until now that I recognize its truth and power. This friend recalled the explanation his father gave him in regards to how he kept hope during these difficult times. Although war and conflict surrounded my friend’s life, his father would find peace and comfort in the laughter of children. My friend’s father explained to him that even during something as terrible as war children would play and they would laugh.
Their laughter pierced through war.
Fighting, chaos and death surrounded their lives but laughter; particularly children’s laughter could cut through all of it. This father found the strength to hope not via the government, money, and power but through something as fragile and ungraspable as a child’s laugh.
My first world problems are nothing compared to this friends experience, but the antidote to my moments of sadness is the same–laughter. I can be in the worst of moods and hearing my daughters laugh as she runs throughout the house pierces right through it. Whenever she cracks up and does her full belly laugh I am instantly transported into an experience of joy that is indescribable. Claire’s laughter is brighter and sharper than any darkness, or sadness I can experience.
Laughter, especially that of a child is dripping with joy.
Joy is so necessary in times of sadness and misery. Happiness is an emotion that primarily dependent on a persons mood. I have steak and I am happy. I listen to good music and I am happy. Happiness can be stripped away in seconds because it’s driven by emotions that are affected by our biology (hormones, etc). Joy is different. Joy is something that the soul experiences. A man can be surrounded by war and see destruction (not happy) and still experience joy. A woman’s body can be ripped open as a child is being born (not happy) and yet experience joy. A man can be nailed to a cross (not happy) and experience joy because of what that cross will mean. Joy goes beyond our circumstances. It pierces through them and reveals that although we may not feel happy we have something more powerful at play—joy.
My daughter’s laugh brings me joy even when I am sad, depressed or just blah. It is an incredible gift from someone so small. I think this is why we see such popularity amongst these YouTube videos of children laughing. If you find yourself watching them, the sadness melts away. The pain we may be experiencing isn’t taken away, but joy is given the opportunity to pierce through and that is a beautiful thing.