Not long after I started blogging at Allison’s Well, the little voice that has permanent residence at the back of my brain started to talk to me . . .
“Who do you think you are? You are so arrogant, you’re so deceived! You couldn’t find water if you were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! You don’t have anything to offer, you couldn’t refresh anybody with your pathetic blogging. . .”
And then the voice digressed even further, pointing out my failures, my sins, and reminded me of the fact that I am a general all-around loser. I was having trouble ignoring this voice as some of its claims seemed quite valid. I felt like an imposter, a liar . . . worse, I felt like I was a fake Christian.
I see a lot of blog posts full of good advice, sage wisdom, uplifting messages….and I wondered in frustration what was the matter with me. . . . why my blog wasn’t measuring up. Finally, I asked myself the all important question. “Okay, this is Allison’s Well. What do I have to offer, every day? What is ‘a cup of water’ that I pass out every day of my life?” And the answer came. It’s who I’ve been all along….the Holy Spirit just reminded me of it.
Last year, my family and I went on a Christmas vacation; and while we were in our hotel, we switched on the TV and started watching an old B&W movie.
The movie started out funny, but it started getting more and more dark and depressing. I nearly got up and left several times but something made me keep watching. The plot was as follows.
Sullivan is a popular young Hollywood director who makes profitable, but shallow comedies. He tells his boss, that he wants his next project to be a serious movie. He wants to “know trouble” first-hand, and plans to travel as a tramp so he can return and make a film that truly depicts the sorrows of humanity. Sullivan dresses as a hobo and takes to the road. Complications ensue and Sullivan gets into more trouble than he bargained for, ultimately winding up in a labor camp for a crime he didn’t commit. The labor camp is inhuman, with horrible conditions and cruel overseers. But while he is in the labor camp, Sullivan attends a showing of a Walt Disney‘s Pluto cartoon. Suddenly, all these hardened, beleaguered prisoners—who have very little left to live for—start laughing hysterically. Sullivan tries to resist, wrapped up in his troubles, but finds himself swept up in the hilarity of the cartoon and the contagious laughter of the men around him. Looking at the pure joy in the audience’s faces, Sullivan realizes that humor can do more good for the poor than his proposed social drama. At the end of the movie, he returns to Hollywood exonerated, and ends the movie with this statement. “There’s a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that that’s all some people have? It isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan.”
As the credits rolled, everything fell into place in my mind. I do have something to share, and I’ve been sharing it probably every day of my life. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been making the people around me laugh.
Recently, I came down with a severe cold and completely lost my ‘bounce’, and my voice. Things were pretty quiet around here. After about a week; I was able to start croaking out some words and had regained my usual perkiness. That first evening I could talk, I was back in form again; despite sounding like a bull frog. Five pairs of eyes were trained on me, my whole family started laughing and one by one; they all said in different ways: “Allison, we’re glad you’re ‘back’.”
Ever since I joined social media last fall, it seems like a day hasn’t gone by without someone saying: ‘Allison you’re so funny, Allison you make me laugh.’ I would sit at my computer and think. ‘Hmm, that’s interesting. I wasn’t really trying, I was just being myself.’ Taking credit for any of this would be as ridiculous as taking credit for this morning’s rainfall. God made some of us teachers, some of us engineers…and some of us clowns.
I’m willing to do just about anything to get my family to laugh; from dressing up in a Darth Vader costume and dancing around the house (yes, I did do this—and was rewarded a Star Wars coin by my amused siblings and voted most amusing Imperial in the Galaxy) or singing ‘In The Good Old Summertime’ in a Donald Duck voice. I’ve always been ready to pull out the stops to make the people I love laugh; they need it; and I need it. Am I crazy? Maybe a little – but I’d rather be this kind of crazy, than the world’s normal. There are plenty of times to grieve and mourn and plenty of times to be serious. The times of laughter are rare; and I think we should take advantage of every opportunity to share laughter.
A few weeks ago, I received some tragic news regarding some people I was praying for. The worst had happened and in truth, I was devastated. As an emotional person, I can sink into deep depression, and when I received this news, my normally upbeat personality leaked out of me like a burst balloon. That evening, I turned on social media very briefly and saw a friend’s comment that was prime picking for a particularly funny gif that I had saved to my computer.
I hesitated. I had an opportunity to dispense a laugh, but I didn’t feel like it, I felt it would somehow be disrespectful to laugh, to make a joke (especially a half-hearted one) in lieu of the news I had received. I had a choice, just ignore the opportunity, walk away and keep on wallowing in sorrow – or laugh.
I posted the gif, and it did made my friends laugh. I couldn’t manage a laugh at that point, but some of the heaviness lifted. Laughing is how I fight sadness.
A clown just can’t throw in their big red nose when life gets hard, they were meant to entertain, to refresh people with laughter – a clown’s job is to forget about themselves, and think about someone else’s happiness. And laughter is infectious. Laughter is a medicine that doesn’t just help one person, it spreads like wildfire. Why is that?
The poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox said in her poem ‘Solitude’: “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone.”
I was thinking about this quote, wondering why it was so accurate. I believe the Holy Spirit answered me. Tears are a thing of the world; laughter is a sign of eternity.
The Bible tell us that there will be no more tears in heaven—and whether a person has read the Bible or not, God has set eternity in the hearts of men—and all people, at all times, are looking for the things of eternity–
though not always in the right way.
Everyone wants redemption—some look for it from God, others look for it in ‘works’. Everyone wants love; some look for it from God, others try to fulfill the need with cheap substitutes. Everyone wants fulfillment; some look for it in God; others try to find it in relationships, work and hobbies. Everyone wants security; some look for it in God, others look for it in financial investments. The list goes on and on. Every single human being on the planet is looking for eternity and despite all the world’s propaganda, it is drawn to the signs of eternity. The Devil has attacked the gift of laughter and the need for laughter by convincing people that cruelty or crudity or excessive sarcasm are a form of hilarity; but despite his propaganda, the fact remains that people seek laughter; not tears. The only kind of tears humans actively seek are the tears of happiness, the tears that express something our laughter can’t.
There are moments during laughter when we start crying; we’re literally laughing so hard that we have tears running down our face. And then there are moments when we’re laughing and weeping for joy. But . . . there won’t be any tears in heaven. What this suggests to me, is that there is some kind of emotion—some kind of depth to joy and hilarity—that we can’t even put into words, or even fully experience in this world; and tears are merely a safety valve; a way to express something we are not capable of fully feeling in our earthly bodies. I think the phrase ‘burst with happiness’, really might be viable. If it wasn’t for the safety valve of tears, we might not be able to cope with the incredible emotions of laughter and joy.
But in heaven, that safety valve will be turned off; and something new will be opened; I’m certain of it.
What will laughter be like in Heaven? Will laughter actually be visible? If so, what will it look like? Will it look like a golden cloud? Or will it be like pixie dust, radiating off one person and then sparkling away to touch someone else?
What will laughter feel like? There is a feeling in the pit of my being when I’m laughing with my family; a peace, a jubilation—I’m full, and yet something is missing—there’s some kind of ache I can’t identify. It’s like the whisper of a song I can’t remember, or tasting something I can’t eat. It’s lovely; but it’s only a reflection, a shadow. There is still something unfilled in my laughter, some facet of it that I can only glimpse, but not yet touch.
What will laughter sound like in Heaven? I imagine that all laughter would be contagious there. If one person laughs in Heaven, will the laugh travel the length and breadth of Heaven in a wave of hilarity? If that were true; then laughter would never end, it would be a song always on repeat, one long, endless laugh.
I have a daydream about Heaven; in my mind I am standing before the Lord, He has already claimed me as His own, forgiven me, wiped away my tears, and welcomed me to Heaven. My first day in eternity is stretching out before me, one amazing and glorious venture, but first, He draws me into his arms – just Him and me – and tells me that I have something to learn to help me in the new life He has prepared for me . . . and then, as we sit together, He’ll teach me how to laugh for the first time.
I have no idea what this would be like, or even if this day dream is even valid, my finite human imagination fails me at this point . . . but the image fills me with joy, as I imagine sitting with my Father and enjoying the holy gift of laughter, and sharing in all the pleasures of joy with Him for eternity.
And I think that is why laughter is so sought after . . . laughter is eternal. It’s a sign of what the world desperately seeks, without even knowing what they are looking for.
I’m not always laughing. Being a very emotional person, I have a tendency to be ‘higher than a kite, or lower than a skunk’; there was one very dark time several years ago when I was really struggling and I thought I had actually lost my ability to laugh; as well as my faith.
But thank God, He preserved my faith and pulled me through that fire and he gave me back my laughter twofold. Because of His miraculous grace and sanctification, I find myself spending more and more time hanging onto that high-flying kite, instead of dithering around on the ground. I was lost in legalism – and then God came in and did what no one else could – He changed my heart; and my laugh escaped once again. I don’t want to return to the way I was; I don’t want to return to that self-imposed prison. I’ve been let out of the dark, and I want to keep dancing in the light.
God has grown my faith by leaps and bounds, He has restored the years the locusts have eaten, He has given me Himself. I gave up myself to receive these gifts; and once I gave up myself, He gave my true nature back to me; the Allison that laughs, the Allison that dances for happiness. I am more like who I was truly meant to be now than I was two years ago. God’s plan is to strip away more of the illusions, more of the facades, until finally one day, I will lose this earthly shell and truly finally be Me – the real Allison, finally, at long last, reunited with the one I love.
A little while ago I published my first book, accomplishing a dream that I have nurtured for about a decade. My instant thought was: “Oh, I’m going to have to be more professional and dignified now; I’m a published author, I have to cultivate a professional persona. I can’t keep clowning around and posting idiotic gifs all over the place.”
I actually considered this course of action…for a single afternoon; then I dismissed it. The fact is, I can’t be more ‘dignified’. I can’t do what God made me to do if I’m worrying about my image. And even if I wanted to stop, I couldn’t; He made me laughing . . . and I just can’t stop.
My happiness is such that it pops out in ways that look like foolishness to the world – Donald Duck imitations, stupid gifs, or dancing around the room in a Darth Vader costume. Most of the world will laugh at that sort of thing –mostly they would laugh at me, than laugh with me –they would see the fool, without seeing why I’m so foolishly happy.
But I don’t care what people think of me. God has given me living water. He refreshes me daily with laughter; I can rest in the joy of His peace.
Laughter is too rare a thing to hoard. I’m not waiting for people to come to my well with their buckets; I’m running around with my own bucket slinging water in all directions. It’s who He made me to be, and it’s who I want to be.
He made me laughing.
Someday I’ll finally escape this ‘cockeyed caravan’ and be with my Father in Heaven – I’ll be going to school, and I will be learning attending all kinds of cool classes. I’ll be learning how to laugh and in that place, laughter will always be new; and it will be new forever.
God has set eternity in the Hearts of men . . . so keep laughing; it’s a sign of eternity.
Psalm 126:2-3 Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with joyful songs. Then the nations said, “The LORD has done spectacular things for them.” The LORD has done spectacular things for us. We are overjoyed.