Thursday, June 2, 2016

Joy and Humor: Find it where you will

“…there's true courage in this kind of unfiltered joy.”
— Brene Brown referring to Candace Payne/Happy Chewbacca Mom appreciate Brené Brown point: I'd add healthy stubbornness.

Because we humans are so connected, just exposing one's self to someone else laughing and being joyful feels so good. It’s life affirming. Ergo there’s no mystery as to why this humble video clip has become so popular.

And because we are so connected, the flip side is true too. Being exposed to certain brands of fear/unkindness is really hard on a person and their connection to whomever is expressing it.


Joy and humor can be found in unexpected places. Being fine with having felt it and expressed it takes some courage and stubbornness.

To this day I'm very impressed by a specific scene in the The Interrupters--a movie about interrupting violence before it happens in Chicago--and sometimes I crack up a little even after seeing it for the upteenth time. The first time I saw it was during a presentation by one of the film's creators to a bunch of young journalists. At the end of his clip's showing, I laughed loudly...alone. I've shared the clip with others and no one has yet shared my joy. The 3.5 minute scene starts with a guy-with-a-gun wanting to kill someone and ends with the guy-with-a-gun going to lunch with two Cease Fire guys. I've nicknamed this scene "The Power of Lunch". I find joy in the scene because it shows how important just feeding and listen to someone is.

Early in the Spotlight movie I cracked up watching it. Journalists and only some “civilians” can understand why the scene between new newsroom chief Marty Baron/Schrieber and investigative team chief Robby Robinson/Keaton at the restaurant is so funny. After the film screening I’d hosted, a colleague said aloud what I was thinking: Seems strange to laugh doing a movie about reporting on sexual abuse of children by clergy. Yes and no. I think that was part of the movie’s brilliance.

During the declining health of certain family elders, gallows humor was flying fast and furious. Much of it is now part of our family’s history. One legendary story: My grandfather/Lawrence announced to my grandmother/Mildred “Take me to Scott’s [funeral home]. I’m ready to go.” My grandmother replied, “Can’t do that. You’re not dead yet.”  Someone not knowing my grandparents might not find that humorous.

Mildred’s attitude about her advanced age and declining health was impressive to me. “Well, if you have to be in a nursing home, this one’s not too bad.” At times she’d ponder aloud “Why am I still here?” or “I don’t know why I’m still here”, which was not a reference to the nursing home. One of us would sometimes reply “Because only the good die young, Grandma.” Never the party pooper, at her 96th birthday gathering, Mildred acquiesced and muttered “Four More Years”, while rolling her eyes.

Humor happens. Lucky us.

I invite your thoughts and stories.

Always fashionable, confetti complements Mildred's dress.
[Photo by young Karen Kring, I think]