I feel happiest when I have faced and felt how deeply sad I am.
Probing the depths of sadness and feeling it deeply and widely frees me up to laugh again. I don’t know if that makes sense. I can feel myself sliding and falling into consuming sadness and lethargy, and that can be frightening. But, I have found that I am increasingly less fearful (though not always fear-free) of the falling. I have found that when I let myself collapse into the sadness and feel what I am feeling, that the sadness does not join with the fear of the power of the sadness to overwhelm me quite so intensely.
I call it therapeutic depression. Sort of the idea that the quickest way out of depression is to be depressed. (There’s some more of Viktor Frankl’s influence on my life and thinking for you.)
Anyway, I wanted to try to express this in conjunction with my heavy and sad thoughts in yesterday’s post, “evil ain’t got no roof”. That kind of melancholy concerns some of my friends. And while I appreciate (and even depend on) their concern, I want to say, It’s okay. I don’t feel as hopeless as I might sound when I write and feel those things. I feel more hopeful by being able to acknowledge the sadness and suffering and the weight of it and realize that is the reality where my trust in God happens. After I write something depressing, I don’t feel depressed.
Feeling what I felt when I wrote that is what lets me be able to laugh long and hard and not have the laughter feel like a denial of “the rest of” reality. Somehow, it’s like holding sadness and happiness together in tension makes me feel both more deeply and vividly.
I love laughter, and even though I am not the person who can spontaneously conjure up hilarious perspectives on life, I am connected with people who can (I’m so thankful for relationships), and I admire them in the same way I admire any artist who can make me look at life in ways I wouldn’t naturally look at it. Because I am empathetic and have a vivid emotional memory (blessing and curse that it is), when I see things through a funny person’s eyes, that perspective becomes a part of me, even though I couldn’t self-generate it.
I have a deep appreciation for genius–both the kind that gets shown off in the public eye, and the genius that goes more or less unnoticed. And I have a mental collection of the geniuses I’m glad are in my life (you don’t have to know me for me to consider you a part of my life. If you impact my life, I’m glad you’re in my life, and I feel connected to you.)
My favorite humor geniuses who paint pictures and perspectives that I can hold in tension with my serious way of viewing life are:
Click and Clack, the automotive genius brothers of NPR’s Car Talk. I listen to them most Saturday nights as a way of rebuilding my depleted serotonin after a stressful week and as a balance to my wacky “therapeutic depression” ideas.
Lingamish–A dear friend in a family of dear, delightful, spontaneous and funny friends, who can be counted on to make me laugh when I’m taking life too seriously. He and his wife have felt some of my heaviest sadnesses with me, and his cyberpsalms often put words to diverse emotions I experience in my walk with God. That depth makes the humor and laughter he shares mean even more. He can make me laugh about the most serious things, and that, in my book, is a real gift.
Dave Barry. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how funny I find his books. Somehow he takes the ordinary things of life that I take for granted (or, alternatively, take REALLY seriously) and squeezes every bit of absurdity out of them until I’m laughing so hard I think I might be able to think about life again without imploding over the seriousness of it all. I recently finished his book History of the Millenium and wondered at my enjoying his perspective so much when most of my immediate circle friends (who are all way funnier than me in real life) would have found him to be intolerably rude and offensive.
Apart from these geniuses, where I can count on being able to get a funny perspective anytime I need one, I love discovering creative and hilarious cleverness in unexpected places.
Today, I laughed and laughed at the following video links from Ray Fowler. And I got double pleasure appreciating the minds that came up with ideas like these and then carried through with the ideas!
Four Handed Guitar Creativity:
Singing Backwards. This guy thought of everything, so that when he played it backwards, you can see that it really is being played in reverse. Absolutely hilarious. Some people might think it a waste of time to do what it takes to master truly SINGING a song backwards. Maybe it is. But, I don’t know–it takes all kind of people to make this world a tolerable and interesting place to live, and I think there are people like this to balance out people like me 🙂 (Or at least to make people like me laugh)
And finally, this hilarious, a cappella, mix-up rendition of 12 Days of Christmas (discovered at Ramblings of a Mother) is a work of musical creativity that also made me laugh today and be excited thinking about somebody (or somebodies) coming up with this and then pulling it off.
(Can you tell I’m also excited that I FINALLY figured out how to put video links up? I don’t know what I’m doing differently today, because I thought it was the same thing I tried before, but THIS time it works!)