The Swiss Theologian Karl Barth once said, “Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God.” When I read this it reminded me of how, in a world that is wounded, worn down, or in some form of bondage, laughter is truly a state one of being in which we are truly free. When was the last time someone laughed, seriously laughed, and found themselves existentially tied down?
The Jesuit priest James Martin, who is also the chaplain of the Colbert Report, once said, “If you’re deadly serious, you’re probably seriously dead.” If things like laughter, joy, humor aren’t assimilated into our daily life, one must ask themselves how they are doing spiritually. When you read the Gospels, it becomes quite clear that Jesus was quite humorous at times. There is a certain aliveness to people who know how to have a good time without sacrificing others. I’m taking a guess that if the job of the Holy Spirit is to bring new life in others, then it would probably be very efficient by helping others not take themselves so seriously, and to be able to laugh at oneself. There is something about humor and laughter that bring vitality to our lives. They brings us gratitude. If we can find joy in the small things, rest assured we won’t be looking around to find meaning and fulfillment in things like greed, power, and status.
Life is too short to be filled without a high value of life in it. If we can’t take a moment to stop and smell the roses, to appreciate the small things, to laugh with those around us, then why are we living? Even Mother Teresa, who did the some of the most serious work in the world, once said, “Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”