Friday, March 19, 2010

Laugh Again

About 9 months ago I wrote a blog entitled Pessimism. I wrote of my struggles claiming and accepting joy. I believe that my good friend Richard Milhous Nixon would unabashedly refer to me as a nabob of negativism. Some argue that the glass is half full or half empty. Instead I would argue that some incompetent jerk just chose one two sizes too big. Certainly over the last 5 years I have struggled in my life. Struggled to understand the why, struggled to accept a new reality, struggled to find meaning, struggled to find my smile. I really need to laugh again.

My latest book is from the comfort food that for me is Charles Swindoll. His work Laugh Again is a fairly quick and straightforward read that will at least serve to lighten your mind and your heart for a time. The book is centered on the well that is the apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians. Swindoll uses the father of much of the Bible's New Testament to expound upon the notion that joyful people stay riveted to the present - the here and now, not the then and never. If only I could embrace these words! Swindoll makes it clear that joy is a choice. It is a matter of attitude that stems from one's confidence in God, that God is fully in the middle of everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen. Our lives are a ship on the sea, and we need to allow God to take control of the tiller. Only when that pressure is removed from us, that weight is taken off of our shoulders, can we ever allow ourselves to relax, to take hold of the joy that surrounds us, and then, to laugh again. Happiness is not something that happens to us based on our circumstances. Happiness is something that we must deliberately and diligently pursue.

Swindoll states so eloquently that circumstances seldom generate smiles and laughter. Joy comes to those who determine to pursue it in spite of their circumstances.