The Wisdom of Laughter: Real Life Lessons from Fiction

Several people in my circle are dealing with cancer and other serious illness. Old and young and in-between, they must find ways to cope with diagnosis, treatment, surgeries, and caregiving. And decisions. So many decisions that have to be made. For June’s “Fictional Lessons for An All-Too-Real Life,” it put me in mind of this passage from You, Jane.

~*~

It was all enough to make a Doubting Angel really, well, doubt herself. She’d tried not to show it much, especially to the Wicked Spirit, but he always seemed to know anyway. He’d laugh at her. It reminded her of a bumper sticker she’d seen one day. “Your friends will help you up when you fall, but your best friend will knock you back down and laugh at you.”

The Doubting Angel didn’t entirely see how that made someone your best friend, especially when she craved comforting reassurances.

But the Wicked Spirit knew the wisdom of laughter, why it was often better to knock someone back down. It made them prove to themselves they could get back up. And why it was better to laugh at them—to remind them that a bad day is not a broken computer, or a lost set of keys, or rain in July. A bad day is not a temporary fall.

A bad day is a drug addiction that ruins a young life. A bad day is a plane crash that takes young men in their prime. A bad day is a bright yellow taxicab that comes out of nowhere and hits a child.

The Wicked Spirit would have to give a few people a few very bad days. And he would have to find a way to get them to laugh.

That’s why the Wicked Spirit never traveled without Dogs. Dogs know the wisdom of laughter, too, and they know it’s even more important when a day is truly bad. Critically injured child bad.laughing dog

That’s when laughter is at its most scarce, and anything scarce becomes more precious.

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