Friday, June 13, 2014

The Best Medicine

My stomach hurts.  I can't catch my breath.  I am gasping for air.  Tears stream down my cheeks. My body shakes.  What's happening to me? Laughter has filled every part of me with a side splitting uncontrollable case of the giggles. You know the feeling.

Laughter.  It can do so much for your soul, your mood, and the outlook you have on life. It can break barriers, create new memories, and it can be the catalyst in forging new relationships. Laughter is a miraculous thing.

Why don't we allow ourselves to laugh more? It doesn't have to be the uncontrollable, full body, ab cramping laughter. It can be a simple silent giggle beneath our breath or an innocent smile we can't seem to repress.  We all have something, whether it be a specific memory, event, friend, picture, comedic movie or television show, or funny cat video that can bring a hearty laugh to our lips or just make our soul smile.  Whatever it may be, they all comfort the soul with renewing joy.

I love to see people laugh: it shows me they're happy.  Laughter and happiness are contagious.  Have you ever tried to remain somber while someone is having a complete laughing attack? It's nearly impossible, and you can't help but be sucked in by their happiness.  Joyous laughter is a powerful force of good.

Weight of the World
The seriousness of life and the somber realities that surround us can fill us with anxiety, worry, and  leave us feeling despondent.  Laughter that once so easily danced on each breath, is now replaced by sighs of worry and melancholy.  Suddenly, it feels as if the weight of the world is bearing down on our shoulders. We become serious, pensive, and sometimes cold.  The world around us
seems to have stolen any laughter that lived within us: it can only be heard in the echoes of our memories.

I haven't laughed as much as I have this week in a long time.  I almost forgot how much I love to laugh and how powerful it can be.  When life gets busy, when life confronts us with serious issues, or when we become lost among life's noise and regimen, there seems to be no room or time for such lighthearted folly.  In the serious and sometimes painful world we live in, we can feel as if laughter is a form of betrayal.  That laughter means we don't care, appreciate, or understand the magnitude of each breath we are given.  It is quite the contrary, however.  Laughter reminds us that we are alive, we are breathing, and that there is joy that lives within each of us.

Every day my life is surrounded by treatments, a cocktail of pills, IV antibiotics, trips to the clinic, and the weight of the future.  My life is consumed by the rigid schedule I must dedicate myself to ever day: my soul becoming so exhausted by the realities that have become my life. My mind becomes heavy and serious, evicting lighthearted thoughts and smoldering the embers of joy that were born ignited by laughter.

The Best Medicine
While it may be the treatments, drug regimens, and my CF team that help keep me breathing, it's the joy and laughter in my life that makes me feel most alive. It is truly the best medicine. Whether it is just a small giggle, an uncontrollable smirk, or a laugh so intense that makes my lungs scream for air: they each fill and renew my soul with happiness. I also find no greater joy than making other people laugh or making them smile: it selfishly renews my soul.

There is a time for tears, a time to be stoic, and a time for taking life seriously. But there is also a time for joy, a time for carefree happiness, and a time for laughter.

Take a few moments today and just laugh: it's good for your soul. 

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