The Laughter Weapon

Right now I’m sat in a café. On the table behind me are 4 older aged women. I can’t help but enjoy their conversation and raucous laughter. They’ve talked about X Factor, how they all love One Direction (I’d fight my granddaughter for whatshisname with long curly hair) and now they’re talking about lesbians. Something like this:

“is thingie’s daughter still one of those lesbians?”

“ooo I think so yes”

“good for her. Must make a change.”

(noises of agreement all round the table)

“I’ve always fancied having a try myself you know, but we are too old now”

“no no we’re not too old. Apparently there’s this thing called Timber on your phone”

“timber like wood?”

“yes, timber you put photos on it and choose people to meet up with. I heard some young girls talking about it”

“were they lesbians?”

“ooo I don’t know. Is timber for lesbians?”

(conversation goes to a whisper)

“well anyway, maybe I’ll leave it for now. It’s bad enough dealing with my saggy bits let alone someone elses”

(laughter erupts around the table)

Next conversation….

“did you go to the doctor about that in the end?”

“no I went to that new shopping centre in town instead, and I feel much better now”

(more laughter)

And I couldn’t help but have a giggle myself.

The joy in their voices really lifted me. I leaned across to their table and thanked them for it. They told me that there were 8 of them but the others had already gone home. How they are all over 75 and single, either from being widowed, divorced or never married, and they always go to the café together on Sundays after church. No matter how bad their weeks have been that’s their routine, to hang out and laugh together. They asked if I was single too. “Yes” I said. And then they invited me to join them, any Sunday afternoon I liked, as long as I liked laughing.

How amazing is this?

These women are clearly the best of friends and know how to care for one another with laughter and fun. I imagine they have all been through much heartache and grief in their lives, not only the loss of husbands. I doubt it is possible to get to that age without lots of challenges.  But they are choosing to see the humour in life. They’ve not been nasty about anyone, or discriminatory. They’re obviously comfortable with themselves, and with each other.

And their warmth blew me away. How swiftly they included me, how they wanted to share their laughter.

And I realised how serious I have become recently.  How consumed with my upcoming heart surgery and other issues I have been.

Many things that we have to deal with in life are difficult, but we have a choice.

I have a choice.

We don’t have to take life too seriously. I don’t have to.

We can choose to laugh in the face of adversity, make fun of ourselves and our angst, share with friends, let ourselves be supported and support others. We can all enjoy life, even if times are so tough we can’t laugh in that moment, there is always something to be thankful for. There’s a place for pain, and tears, they are important, but we need the contrast of laughter and fun. We need the healing that comes from time out with friends chatting about all sorts of rubbish and giggling until our sides hurt. Sometimes we need to let go of the serious and embrace the silly.

And those times need to be part of our routine.

I came here today with the intention of writing an update about my heart surgery, and to share about some other stuff. I’ll still do that soon, but it feels like I was meant to meet these lovely women for a reason. A reminder to lighten up and relax. That it is OK not to take serious things so seriously.

Having a laugh, doing fun or relaxing things when there is tough stuff going on doesn’t mean that we are disrespecting our situations. It means that we are embracing life as it is and fighting.

Laughter is both a medicine and a weapon in our battles. A weapon we could all do with using more often. And one we should never feel guilty about using, no matter what is going on.

Love L x

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