This I Believe

Matthew - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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Why cry when you can laugh? I know of no logical answer. I laugh when I succeed. I laugh when I fail. I laugh while doing nothing at all. I believe that laughter is essential to life.

We had been working all day. My Hard Rock Café t-shirt was soaked through with sweat, and a mixture of dirt and finger paint was caked on my elbows. Working in Mexico was tough. My group and I were working on building a small house that day. I also had Mexican children hanging on me several times. Now, we were sprawled out on the ground in a field outside our place of rest. I was gazing up at the stars, showing much more clearly then back in Marietta, when I started to laugh. I could not stop. Soon, the others in my group started laughing. Maybe we were laughing at our pathetic state, but I believe we were laughing because we needed to laugh. And it worked. What began a bad day I now remember as good.

While laughing, I forget everything else: failed math tests, family problems, and bad haircuts. Stress is melted away, and there is at least one moment of pure relaxation. The reality is that my math grade is dropping, and my hair looks like it was cut by a blindfolded person. At least, even for only a split second, that didn’t matter. Nothing mattered.

About eight years ago, my sister was walking down the stairs in our foyer when she tripped and rolled, backpack and all, until she met the hardwood floor with a head butt. My mom and I could only laugh.

“Why is this funny?” My sister cried out in between sobs. “I could have been seriously hurt.”

My mom simply replied, “But you aren’t.” My sister soon joined in our laughter as blood began to trickle down from her nose.

I believe that laughter is the driving force in my life. Without a good laugh, life is merely a boring sequence of days. Ella Wheeler Wilcox once said: “Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone.”