I laughed a lot yesterday. It’s been a while since I laughed so hard. Long enough that I’d almost forgotten what it feels like–that pleasantly sore feeling in your ribs and stomach, aching from full-body laughter. It’s probably embarrassing when I laugh, because I’m not exactly quiet. But I remembered something yesterday: Real laughter is a natural antidepressant.
It’s hard to be down or discouraged when you can’t breathe because you’re laughing so hard. And after you spend an hour or two of hilarious, uplifting, God-centered conversation, I dare you to walk back into the darkness and think it’s still impenetrable. Laughter lightens your spirit, and that’s why it’s important to have friends who help you laugh.
Today verse is Proverbs 17:22.
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
Laughing is good for you. It’s a scientific fact. I can’t quote the science, but I’ve read about it, that a life full of laughter helps you stay younger and maybe even healthier. The problem is that life isn’t always fun. It’s difficult to laugh in the tough moments. It’s hard to hold on to that spirit of lightness when just living feels like a burden too heavy to bear.
I’ve been hunkered down for most of this month working on novel revisions, limiting my contact with the outside world to a small number of very close friends. I’m introverted. Very introverted. So the alone time doesn’t really bother me. I actually enjoy it.
But this month has also been extremely trying. Just loads of difficult, frustrating things have happened, piled on top of each other in one big suffocating mass of ugliness. And I really buried in my self-imposed deadlines, and my perspective suffers. I try to keep my eyes on the prize, but when you’re locked away in your office trying to knock out 5,000 to 7,000 words a day? It doesn’t leave a lot of time for listening to others, and that’s a mistake.
Yesterday I got to have lunch with two of my favorite people–friends I haven’t been able to hang out with for a long time. Friends I can pick up with right where I left off and it doesn’t feel like any time has past.
Everybody needs friends like that. People you can real with, who know the real you and–more importantly–who know Jesus and who know that God has everything under control.
If you can’t get your own perspective sorted out, you need to ask for help. Go to someone you love, someone you know loves you, and just spend some time with them. If you need to talk about what’s bothering you, do it. But you don’t always have to. Sometimes you can just have a silly, inconsequential conversation about nothing, and it can still encourage you. Just taking the time to talk to someone who loves you can make all the difference in the world.
Life is far too short to live it by yourself, and maybe some folks can get through it alone, but I don’t recommend it. The journey’s a lot more fun if you go with people. And if you’re one of those privileged people who still get to have lunch with friends you’ve known for 10, 15, 20 years, don’t take that for granted.
So tell stories. Remember good times. And laugh your butt off. I guarantee the weight on your shoulders will feel much lighter if you do.