In my neighborhood, laughter is never far away. It comes from elementary school kids chasing each other or playing games. They gather in someone’s yard and play games like soccer or football to end the day with a positive experience. As I drive past, I can see the bright grins they have on their small faces. They can’t wait to come up to my front door and ask if I can play. Being in high school, I don’t have time for much fun because after school, I have to complete many homework assignments. It always makes me feel good when they ask me to play, instead of assuming that upon starting high school, I would never be able to play with them again. As I complete my homework, I love to stare out of the windows and watch them have fun. The days that I can play with them, I enjoy every minute of it. The decisions they make and the things they have to tell me make my day.
Just recently, after Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers became very famous, my neighbor asked me, “Do you know who Hannah Montana is? Did you know that her real name is Miley Cyrus? Did you see the new episode of Hannah Montana? Do you know who the Jonas Brothers are? Which of their songs’ is your favorite?” After acknowledging that I knew who they were, like most other children in America, I explained that I didn’t have time to watch T.V. because of the amount of homework I receive each night. She was just dying to tell me everything new that had happened to them. Even though I don’t enjoy those pop stars, I know that I had made her day by letting her explain everything to me.
I believe that laughter can help increase someone’s quality and length of life. Going to a senior citizen home, and just talking to them, or playing a board game with them, makes them feel happy that someone cares about them. Just having fun for a little bit at a time, makes them feel wanted and they can’t wait until someone visits them again.
Recently on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the team was building a house for a ten year old girl with terminal brain cancer. Throughout the show, they showed the back story of her life. In her spare time between school, chemotherapy, and other medical visits, she loved to make bracelets. She sold the bracelets to help make money for the local children’s hospital. She also visited hospitals, and sick children, trying to give them a reason to keep on fighting their disease and keep on living. Even though she knew that her life was almost over, she loved to play with other sick children, helping them laugh, hopefully giving them one more reason to fight another day. When the design team created the house, they even added a special room for her to make her bracelets, filled with every kind of bead imaginable and every bead accessory that she would ever need. At the end, when they showed her the room, she cried in happiness because she knew that she could help so many people from the contents of the room. I believe that her desire to have fun and help others fight for their life has helped her continue to live today. That episode has become burned into my memory. It is so funny how happiness finds people, even in the grimmest of situations.
Reflecting on how a girl with terminal cancer can find happiness and laughter, makes me think of all of the missed opportunities to play with my little neighbors. I try to play with them as much as possible, homework permitting. If a person can laugh each day, they will find just a little bit of happiness, and strive to live longer to feel that joy in their heart just one more time. This, I believe.