Learn to Laugh: How Falling Down Brick Stairs Has Saved My Life
I’m a little clumsy. I admit it. I own it.
I’ve sprained both ankles in the same week…actually, I’ve broken a finger on each hand in the same week, on different days. Before you think I’m a walking insurance claim, I did grow up playing a lot of sports and that is how most of the accidents happened. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
One day while in college, I was walking through the middle of campus on my way home with one of my roommates. We began to walk down a set of brick stairs, at which point, I fell. I’m not sure how I fell, but I went down hard. I had a messenger bag full of books slung across my body that managed to flip over my head, yet stay attached to my shoulder, and dragged me down the few stairs I had managed to miss on my initial fall.
Luckily it was not a peak time between classes. In fact, there was only one other person around and both she and my roommate began to ask if I was okay. As I lay there on my face, feet in the air, I mentally checked all of my limbs and found them to be intact. Yeah, I was okay. I rolled over onto my back and, despite my pride and the pain in my knees, I started laughing.
They both hesitated to laugh at first. I mean, it’s pretty heartless to laugh at a girl lying head down on brick stairs, but once I started, so did they. I asked them to help me up because my bag was holding my head down. It wasn’t a graceful ‘get up’, to say the least. I still chuckle about falling down those stairs.
Power of a Laugh
Now as I look back, there have been many experiences like that. Not that I’ve fallen down any more brick stairs, but times when I’ve felt completely disoriented and unable to get my feet underneath me. Times that I’ve been frustrated and disheartened. Times I’ve wanted to cry.
Life gets hard. Children can be hard. Finances can be hard. Relationships can be hard. Health can be hard. Life can make you want to bury your head in the sand and leave it there until the storm blows over. But that is not how it works.
The only way to get through life is to laugh through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache. – Marjorie Pay Hinckley
Some days, no matter what you do, your kids are going to fight or cry or get into every cupboard they can reach and then draw on the back of your new couch. They will smear butter in the carpet and lotion on the upholstery. They will stab a screwdriver through the vacuum filter the day you take the vacuum out of the box.
Choose to laugh. Laughter can make a bad day better. It can make the maddening ridiculous. It can lighten a weary soul.
Mistakes and Heartaches
Falling down the stairs has saved my life over and over again because it reminds me to laugh, even when I don’t feel like it, especially when I don’t feel like it. If we can find it within ourselves to laugh when we want to cry or yell or tear our hair out, life doesn’t seem as hard.
Laughing at our own mistakes and heartaches brings things back into perspective. Most of the time, our mistakes are little and not life altering. If they are big and life altering, hopefully, you’ll be able to laugh about them years later.
Our family has had a trying couple of years. There were times when it was hard. I cried a lot. There was not a lot of laughter. But a few weeks ago my husband and I went to dinner with another couple and somehow we got on the topic of building our house, which is what has been the difficulty over the last two years. As we described all that had happened, we both started laughing. In fact, the more we added to the list of things that went wrong, the harder we laughed. I think the other couple might have thought we were nuts. Oh, well.
Not a mistake, more of a heartache, but now we can look back and laugh. We laugh because now that we’re through it, we can see all that we learned. We grew closer as a couple. We grew closer to Heavenly Father and we have some crazy, awful, funny stories to tell.
Laugh It Off
My basketball coaches used to tell me to “shake it off” when I made a mistake.
“Laugh it off” the next time you feel like crying.
The next time I’m shoving food at children because we have to be somewhere in 5 minutes and someone can’t find their shoes and someone else doesn’t want to wear a coat and someone else wants another serving but there’s no time; I’m going to start giggling like a crazy person. I’ve done it before and while it doesn’t make my kids suddenly cooperate, they’ll stop what they are doing to try to figure out why I’m laughing. Then maybe they’ll get their shoes and coats and run to the car so I’m not late….or not. Laughter is a big help, but it is not magic.