I believe in laughter. I always have. Even my quote in my high school year book reads “laugh as much as you breathe, love as long as you live.” I believe these two concepts go hand in hand; laughter and love.
Just recently, I embarked on a week long mission trip to an impoverished town in Costa Rica by the name of Los Chiles. I was to spend the week helping to build a house in a neighborhood that had no electricity, running water, or even paved roads. The so-called houses in the area were merely four walls consisting of scraps of wood and tin. But there was a beauty in this town, a beauty that lay in the numerous amounts of children scattered throughout the community. Interestingly enough, my Spanish-speaking skills are limited…very limited…I could manage to muster up “Hola. ¿Cómo estás?” but beyond that I was hopeless in this predominantly Spanish-speaking community. Nonetheless, these children would arrive at the work site where we were building every morning and would not depart until we left at sundown, without one care that our languages were poles apart.
On the very first day, there were children appearing at my side right and left, bear-footed and bright-eyed. I wondered how I would communicate with them as they flashed me questioning smiles. Well, that inquisitiveness didn’t last long. Within ten minutes, children were jumping on my back and I was spinning them around and jumping up and down. I quickly learned the Spanish word for “up,” subsequently followed by my arms rising up and down…and up and down…and up and down… as I lifted child after child into the air. I was tired between the work and playing with children but the gleaming looks of happiness on their faces and their squirms of laughter erupting from their innocent faces made it all worth it. We were running in circles and we were laughing. We were laughing hard. It was at that moment I realized the language barrier didn’t matter. We had laughter. And with the laughter came a mutual understanding of one another. And with that mutual understanding came an undeniable love. A real, legitimate love for these children and for this community. I truly will never forget it, laughter’s ability to connect people from two completely different worlds and intertwine them into one.
I’ve always loved to laugh. I just don’t know that I ever truly realized the power of it. But I believe in it now more than ever. Laughter keeps me going. It makes me truly happy and it is the reason I believe I am at peace with myself today.
I believe it is connections like the ones I have made with these people in Los Chiles, the genuine laughter we shared with one another which expanded into an honest-to-goodness love, can create a universal peace. The kind of universal peace that this world could use a little bit more of…for laughter truly is universal. It is something everyone understands. Any wall, any bad mood, any language barrier can be torn down in moments with a genuine smile or a deep, hearty laugh. This I believe.