communal laughter...

Last night, the band I play with got together over at our house for some steak, potatoes, chicken, chips, dessert, and did I mention steak? I grilled twelve New York Strips, many of which caught on fire because my grill rots. It was fun to hang together. We ate like kings and queens while watching Brian Regan comedy. We laughed so hard our guts hurt....the same guts that we were filling with dense slabs of beef. The good thing is that the laughter caused regurgitation, so you had the pleasure of tasting the same bite several times. As you can imagine, this brings exponential enjoyment.

I started a raging bonfire and we sat around the fire while Ryder played favorites from the 70's, 80's and today. He even threw in some Bach for good measure. He's like a living Jukebox. We laughed, told stories, ate marshmellows, played glow-in-the-dark frisbee, talking about hunting, made up songs and jokes on the spot, got to know each other better and enjoyed an overall sweet experience.

One thing that I was thinking about is the power community has to unleash laughter. Laughter doesn't even make sense if you're alone. The one thing isolation cannot provide is robust laughter. In fact, if something makes you laugh hard when you're alone, it isn't long before you look around and feel somewhat strange that there is no one to share it with. Laughter is only fulfilling when it's shared. When something is funny, the first instinct is to look around and catch another eye who is on the same page. I love seeing people smile, but I absolutely live for seeing people laugh. As we watched the Brian Regan episode, I imagined life without laughter. I imagined a lonely, isolated life carrying on without shared joy. As we were watching this stand up comedian, I realized that 90 percent of my laughter was prompted by the laughter of others. If I was sitting there all alone, I would have sat there for 90 percent of that segment taking it in stride without so much as cracking a smile. But when one laughs, the domino effect evokes another to snicker, which stimulates another to crack a grin, which awakens the one next to him to soften and relax. Before long, 13 people become ONE. We are watching each other as much as we're watching the court jester. We find each other just as funny as the professional. Alone, we wouldn't find nearly as much to get excited about.

It happens with movies, too. You remember a movie to be good, but when watched alone, you wonder what you found redemptive about it in the first place. People make stuff better. They just do. They make normal everyday life shimmer and sparkle. They give spirit to substance. They give meaning to matter. They make a job a joy. Laughter has no utilitarian value, you don't need it to yet, you need it to be alive. Alival is so much different than survival.

It is not good for a man to be alone. It just isn't. On the surface, distancing yourself from people seems to solve alot of problems. Life gets simpler. And, oh, how I long for what is simple these days. But simple as a mission leads to simpleton as a person. And I'm not sure I feel that being a simpleton was God's dream for a human life. It is not good for a person to live in isolation...that's what God said in the beginning, even before sin had a say in the matter. It's funny, cause it's a humble thing for God to admit. He was essentially admitting his own insufficiency to meet every need of the human heart. He created humans with needs that he couldn't even fulfill. How cool is it that we have a God that did something as humble as that? He created us with an innate need for other humans. Life just ain't good when you're not sharing it with another. It may be a bit complex for a simpleton to navigate, but we weren't created complex for nothin'. We have complexions, and complexities, and complexes for a reason...we're complex creatures.

And the only thing that makes sense of complexity is community. When you try to figure out the complexity of life and yourself apart from community, you either implode or explode. People help you deal with the weight of glory...only in community does something as complex as the human being become appropriately simple again. Life gets boiled down. Why?...cause love covers over a multitude of sins. And it is only in the presence of love that compexity and simplicity aren't seen as mutually exclusive. In matter of moments, gravity meets levity. Heaviness meets heartiness. Laughter becomes the language. 'Cause laughter was meant for us. Not for you. Not for me. It's an "us" thing.

And I love that there are some things in life that can't be had until they're shared.


Merel said…
I'd love to read your thoughts in a blog about being single... you talk quite a bit about your wife and kids being your life and your reason for carrying on.

Of course when you're single you can have roommates, friends, community, etc etc.
But can life be fulfilling as a single person in your opinion?

Just curious about your thoughts on this subject
The Listros said…
Thank you once again for articulating something God had already stirred in my heart.

- Amy
Danielle said…
Friday was a whole lot of fun, thank you. And the laughter was fantastic :o)

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