“Laughter is an instant vacation.” You’re right, Milton Berle.
“I’m thankful for laughter except when milk comes out of my nose.” That’s true, Woody Allen.
“Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. What puts man in a higher state of evolution is that he has got his laugh on the right end.” I like that, Max Eastman.
You don’t have to be around this writer long at all before you discover that “laughing on the right end” is one of my favorite things. I love to do it, I love to hear it, and I love to make others do it, too. It’s a gift, laughter is, enhancing the laugher’s quality of life. Every single time.
I was born with a congenital condition. As near as I can tell, it’s something called hyenamegaly, a syndrome in which a person has one or more inner hyenas (big ones) that drop and roll at the least little thing, causing instant hilarity. I love life, too, finding more and more joy and satisfaction in really living as the days and weeks roll by.
It was at the Columbus Zoo this weekend that I saw the Creator’s own sense of humor and love of life on brilliant display. And what a show it was. The aquarium teemed with it, fish of every color, shape, and size swimming past. There went a puffer fish, a surgeon fish, several sharks, and a sting ray, flicking in and out through brightly-colored fish of every type.
There was life, too, in the reptile house, a little more than I was comfortable with, and I hurried past the pythons and the snakes with the rattles and not the laughs on one end.
We laughed at the chimps playing tag and stood, transfixed at the sight of a baby monkey being carried by its mama and held by its father. The three of them gathered, a small, hairy family unit, beneath a tree.
The mama ape in the next cage down was holding her baby in her arms, kissing its little mouth as only mamas do. Their tenderness and affection were palpable in these furry members of God’s creation.
The okapi – what was that? It looked for all the world like a cross between a zebra, a horse, and a mule. Someone (the Creator, of course) had painted its hind quarters and face in white with black stripes, suddenly switching to brown for everything in between.
This morning, I’m thinking of you. Of us. Of how we, too, come in different colors, shapes, and sizes. Of the kindness of a Creator who gave us the gift of laughter to connect us and to make life easier in our days down here. Of the abundant life He offers; not a trickle, not a pond, but a wild, flowing river.
Come on in. The water’s fine! Laugh with me, cry with me, marvel with me, and let’s do this thing called “life” together, shall we?