I don't recall laughing much when I was growing up. My dad got sick when I was six, and so I spent quite a bit of time at my Granny and Pa-Pa's house. And though they were very loving, they didn't laugh very much, if at all. The most that my mother and I can recall is that Granny may have said, "That's cute," but there was no such thing as a fit of giggles or an all-out belly laugh from either Granny or Pa-Pa. I think their limited schooling, around first grade for Pa-Pa and third grade or maybe fifth for Granny, prevented them from understanding that some things in life are funny. At any rate, my early childhood contains a lot of sweet memories but not a lot of laughter-filled memories.
Around junior high or high school, I must have developed a sense of humor. Or at least a late-night sense of humor. It was during that time that if I was awake past a certain time of night (though the time often fluctuated), anything that was said became hysterically funny to me. Sometimes my outbursts were amusing to my mother and sister, while other times they would merely say, "There she goes." Possibly indicating that my sanity had stepped out.
Nowadays when we get together as a family, laughter seems to be a focal point. Because we have so many shared memories, it's easy to play off of them and insert humor. It is such a gift to laugh with family, and I'm so grateful we have that now.
I also enjoy books that make me laugh. Seven by Jen Hatmaker was the first book that I can recall reading that produced multiple side-splitting outbursts of laughter, which was quickly followed by my reading aloud the portions that I found hysterical.
Melanie Shankle's memoir Sparkly Green Earrings, which I read earlier this summer, had a similar effect.
And then this weekend, I read A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson. I called my mom and read the bulk of chapter 4 to her. I got so tickled reading it that I could barely get the words out, which caused Mom to laugh even more. And there's no way I could read chapter 7 out loud and have anyone understand me because it's that funny.
So as I wrap up this weekend with some soreness in my abs, I'm grateful for the gift of laughter. What has made you laugh lately? I'd love to hear.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." - Proverbs 17:22