Monday, December 31, 2018

On Laughter, Pick-Up-Sticks, and New Years Resolutions

December 2018
"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face." --Victor Hugo

We had a good laugh following Christmas festivities this past week, one sparked by a gift given the children--a box full of games including this vintage one, Pick-Up-Sticks. And the laughter that rang out around the game table was a great pick-me-up in itself, let me tell you. The proclaimed winner was truly dexterous. It was even stated that maybe he had missed his calling--he would have made a great  neurosurgeon!  In reflecting back on the game, and the people around the table, I've tapped the activity as one of my cherished memories of the day.

Laugher--often spontaneous, most likely contagious, and in a lot of ways healing. In the echoes of laughter one often forgets the weightier issues of the day, exchanging them for lighter moments, lifted spirits, and just flat-out fun. We ought to laugh more often.

Thus it is that I set my only resolution for this year: I will open my heart to more laughter. Yes, I will have goals--writing goals, personal goals, goals to help me grow. But resolutions? How many of those do we really follow through on? This is one resolution that is attainable. 

So in the spirit of laughter and its value, I share some of my favorite quotes on the subject (and similar topics):

--- "Earth laughs in flowers." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

--- "As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul." --Jewish Proverb

--- "He who laughs, lasts!" --Mary Pettibone Poole 

--- "Humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of life." --former Senator Al Simpson

--- "Joy is the best make-up." --Anne Lamott

--- "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." --Proverbs 17:22

--- "It is bad to suppress laughter. It goes back down and spreads to your hips." --Fred Allen

--- "A good laugh heals a lot of hurts." --Madeleine L'Engle

And speaking of Madeleine L'Engle, I appreciate this story that she tells in her book, A Circle of Quiet, The Crosswicks Journal, Book One: "One of the greatest weapons of all is laughter, a gift for fun, a sense of play which is sadly missing from the grownup world. When one of our children got isolated by a fit of sulks, my husband would say very seriously, 'Look at me. Now, don't laugh Whatever you do, don't laugh.' Nobody could manage to stay long-faced for very long, and communication was reestablished. When Hugh and I are out of sorts with each other, it is always laughter that breaks through the anger and withdrawal...Paradox again: to take ourselves seriously enough to take ourselves lightly."

Do you make resolutions or set goals, or both? How important is laughter to you and your family? Do you have a favorite quote on laughter? What is your favorite table game?

Wishing all who might drop in here a happy new year, with all the pick-me-ups that a good dose of laughter can offer. May laughter visit, lift, and help carry you through any long winter days ahead...


  1. My family plays board games - always lots of fun when the grandchildren put aside their electronic devices and play with us! As you say, laughter is a very good thing.

    I do set goals, both personal and related to my writing. Whether I'll manage to keep them is another matter. Guess that remains to be seen!

    Thank you for the good-will wishes. The same to you, Kenda, for a very happy and successful New Year!

    1. Hi, Peggy :-) Another family that plays board games together, yay! Love hearing that...

      Hope you do make progress on your goals this year. Even if they aren't met in full, it's fun to try--and to look back and see how many were actually achieved. Probably more than we realized!

      Always great to hear from you. Thanks so much for your wishes, too :-)

  2. One of my fondest classroom memories is a statement by one of my 3rd graders from Mexico years ago: Something had happened, I don't remember what, but I started laughing and all the class did, too. When our laughter had run its course, I said, "Sometimes you just have to have a good laugh." He said, "That's what my mom says. She says, 'What is life without a little laughter?'" Isn't that a wonderful thing to tell your children?