Updated: Nov 4, 2020
In times of great sorrow, connecting to even the briefest moments of joy can provide solace, give meaning to our struggle, and offer deep seated resilience.
Over the course of a lifetime, we take our turns holding the heavy. Even when entrenched in grief, at times we are able to glean some lightness and hold on to that for a minute. Revel in it even. It may sneak out of our sadness with a giggle or a full belly laugh. This can seem selfish and short sighted. We worry that we don't seem sad, angry, or devastated enough, that it somehow cheapens or lessens the gravity of our loss.
It feels bold to say: Hey I know there is unbearable sadness all around me... AND I'm going to be joyful anyway. l was crying 20 minutes ago AND now I'm going to have a driver's seat dance party anyway. My heart is breaking AND that shit was funny, I'm gonna laugh anyway.
My heart is breaking AND that shit was funny, I'm gonna laugh anyway.
Those statements are bold, and they are faulty. We don't laugh anyway, dance anyway, or live joyfully anyway. We do it because. Because we loved, because we are moved, because we are present, because we are alive. We are whole people going through multiple complex life experiences all at once. We can laugh during a funeral because... joy and sorrow exist in the same space at the same time. Anyway implies that we do it in spite of the sorrow. Because makes meaning of it.
I am not suggesting one stuff their grief under a facade of false smiles and I'm fine thankses. Eww, please don't do that. (Whatever, ignore me. If that's what you need to do to get through any given moment, by all means meet your needs.) I am not asking you to laugh through your tears, BUT if that's what you are moved to do, please don't stop yourself either.
I am not asking you to laugh through your tears, but if that's what you are moved to do, please don't stop yourself either.
In this historical moment, we are in the midst of an international pandemic. Youth are spilling into the streets all over the world to protest state brutality. These mother's children are being met with more state brutality in response. People are frightened and angry. Black and brown mothers mourn their sons dying in the streets, daughters dying in their own homes. Mothers around the globe seeing their own babies' reflections and stand in solidarity.
Through all of this, the dance of regular life and death continues. Hearts break for reasons that don't echo through the streets. Sons mourn mothers who died after a long life of service. Grandparents rage against cancer for stealing their babies too soon. Children mourn fathers they never knew. Wives recoil from false promises of love and safety. Mothers mourn a future for their children that they just can't afford. Friends are stunned and horrified by their beloved's suicide. Dads grieve every moment they aren't allowed to parent.
How do you keep going when the fog of grief is so laden
you breath weighted blanket air?
How do I dare dance while others are crying.
Our daily lives are riddled with sorrow. So much so that a moment's laughter can feel wrong, irreverent, disrespectful to the dire needs or all encompassing ouch around us. I get it, this shit is serious, heavy, and mind-numbingly painful. We sit with our sorrow, at times rail against it, and in others buckle beneath it's enormity. Somehow most days we carry this daily weight and continue to move through. May we receive strength and sustenance by savoring the smallest morsels of sweetness... like pellets of respite in the bitterest of times.
In a world of hatred and unbearable cruelty, offering your spirit a moment of unbridled joy can be a revolutionary act.
The fact that the people of this world can smile and laugh at all, dear darlings, is nothing short of miraculous. When we share the joy we have managed to eek out for ourselves with others, well that's just divine.
Love is Revolutionary. Laughter is my resilience.
In this short excerpt from a Purposefully Ridiculous church service, Angelina shares more on using laughter as a source of resilience during times of grief.