Thursday, July 25, 2013

Laughing Matters

It is a hard fact to accept; that life is often unfair.  Disease, poverty, hunger, natural disasters, and accidents happen to people around the globe.  All sorts of tragic events occur each and every single day.  And yet, somehow, life goes on.

Perhaps over time, we develop a little bit of a thicker skin. Part of growing up is when you are able to accept that life and death go hand in hand: that it is a cycle.  But that acceptance doesn't mean we are completely numb to the pain and heartache that life can often dish out.

Most of the time, I feel pretty good. I go through my life with a certain level of awareness to the fragility of each day.  In fact, growing up, my dad often commented on how fast time goes by and would tell various stories to illustrate just how quickly and cruelly everything can suddenly fall away.  The point was drilled so deeply into the very core of my being that I sometimes fear the most simple of everyday tasks: walking to my car, driving home at night, swimming in the ocean and so on.

While it is wise to live with a certain measure of caution, I can't help but be a little cautious of how easy it could be to become so paralyzed with fear that life becomes a scary pilgrimage, rather than a daring adventure.

Enjoying a midweek day off of work, I sat out on front deck of my parents' house and enjoyed a glass of wine with my dad.  And as we commonly do, my dad and I conversed about how fast time goes by and how precious life really is.

He took a long pause and savored his wine.  I could tell that he was pondering something with some serious weight. And then, in one long breath, he exhaled a story of an employee and friend of our family who is rapidly becoming a bright shining star among us. Not only does he have an incredible work ethic and remarkable physical strength, but he also makes everyone around him laugh. All. Day. Long.

This man, our friend, is a comedian.  No really, he is.

All day and every day, as he is performing the various tasks assigned to him, the guy is performing and perfecting his stand up routine...

We learned recently some surprising news about our friend. Aside from his truly talented knack for humor, and his seemingly tireless work ethic, he is also battling a truly terrifying blood disease known as leukemia.

When he tells you about the day he was diagnosed, Friday the 13th no less, he makes a joke.  While leukemia is no laughing matter, this guy is proving one thing for certain: laughing matters.

I sometimes have absolutely no idea how some of my friends do it.  Some very good people within my circles have faced unthinkable tragedy and grief.  Yet, they soldier on through life with the most beautiful and uplifting physical feature known to man: a smile.

Of course we can't and won't always go through life wearing a big, dopey grin. Everyone is allowed to feel pain, fear, and sorrow. I am well aware of the hardships on the horizon that are as certain as the sunrise.

But there is such a valuable lesson to be learned through the example of people like our friend, the comedian. Laughing matters.

Having a positive attitude is much easier said than done.  I have to remind myself on a daily basis to choose the "glass half full" perspective. It is so easy to get worn down over time by all the negatives.  I could easily find myself complaining of a few aches and pains; literally and metaphorically speaking.

I'm a little tired today. Waaahhh.  And it's a little bit of a bummer to know that I'm about to go to work behind the bar for the next few nights. Booo hooo.  But, when I really think of how good I've got it, I can't help but laugh at myself a little.

Life is funny... It's no joke, but it's worth laughing at every now and then.



1oz Vodka
Orange Juice
Simple. Sunny. Delicious.

In loving memory of my Grammy who brought my best friend (my mom) into this world. 

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