I have alarming news to share with you, friend: there is a deadly virus infecting the planet. Thousands sick, hundreds dead. You, too, are at risk. Thus, you are confined to your house. You may not leave…ever. Should you venture to escape, armed US military shall apprehend you. The worst part is…your last roll of toilet paper is the last roll you’ll ever see. We killed all the world’s trees hoarding it.
I had no clue when I initially thought about this writing topic that the world would be caught in a standstill, on lockdown, and watching a worldwide pandemic completely disrupt our lives.
But, alas, here we are. Weeks into this virus taking us by storm, we have adapted, and are maybe still adapting, to a new kind of life for the time being.
When things first started heating up, and new numbers of cases and deaths kept filing in, I was constantly checking the latest news reports, following the latest updates, and trying to stay as informed as possible. I found that while information is a good thing, it doesn’t help me to know every minuscule detail every five minutes. The more I kept plugging into news bites, and the more frequently, I felt more anxious and preoccupied over things that, as a friend reminded me, I have absolutely no control over.
There are people who I hope do not get this virus. I don’t want to get this virus. I want to be able to do certain things. Others are doing things that I wish they wouldn’t. But with all this, I’m reminded that I actually cannot control any of these things. There isn’t much I can dictate aside from what I allow myself to focus on, what I do with my time, and even that is now limited with the degree of restrictions placed on Americans.
With so little control, and so much to worry about, what is one to do?
Well, considering that today is April Fool’s Day, one option is to jump on the bandwagon with those who are having a little fun with our current situation. Let me clarify that by no means do I mean to downplay the grief, suffering, and loss this terrible malady has already brought so many…that would be nothing short of tragic. But, I think we all need comic relief and good ole’ fun in light of our rather monotonous current existence (if you are currently at home with lots of humans under the age of six of seven, I’m sure your environment is not dull at all!).
I personally have enjoyed many of the clever memes and other funny posts about what’s unfolding on our world stage.
Here are a few of them:
All these funnies that keep popping up in our media feeds remind us that there are still parts of life to be happy about and enjoy. For one, at least we’re all #AloneTogether. One person shares something and most of us can relate, and with a chuckle or two. This is pretty healthy. If we’re all united in uncertainty and apprehension, why can’t we unite in humor as well?
I read somewhere that laughing together is as close as you can get without touching. When we laugh, our brain releases endorphins, and we feel good. There is an intimacy created with the people we laugh with. Now that remaining six feet away from each other is our new normal, giggling and laughing can be a great coping mechanism!
Comedy and humor have always kept communities healthy, especially in the most challenging times. Humor uplifts our spirit and mood, helping us to endure hardship, release tension, and it builds a sense of alliance with those around us.
We intuitively know that laughter is good for us, especially for dealing with stress. When I’m overly stressed or worried about something, my mom often tells me to “lighten up.” As much as I sometimes want to grunt at her suggestion, I know her advice is wise and well-taken.
Science teaches us interesting things about laughter as well, even suggesting that it “is a potent drug with the contagious power of a virus that conveys a slew of benefits for the mind and body.” IMAGINE that. I wonder what other potent thing is lurking around the world with contagious power affecting the mind and body…
So, if laughter is a powerful drug with contagious power and there happens to be a powerful virus infecting the planet- ladies and gentlemen, alert POTUS please, for I believe we have found the COVID-19 cure!
Okay-maybe a stretch, but all jokes aside, there might be more truth to this idea than we think.
There are people I know with such strong and positive spirits who I’ll refer to as ‘superhumans.’ When they feel themselves getting sick, they defy whatever is ailing them. They decide that they will not be ill and strike back, combatting the foreign invader with a relentless attitude. It’s as though they tell the sickness that they’ll refuse to succumb to it. They go on with their lives, push forward, and eventually appear to defeat the ailment altogether.
I am not one of these people. While doctors have shared that I appear to have a high tolerance for pain, I do know that when I feel sick, I feel sick. And I have no problem letting those around me know it (go ahead, you can chuckle…it’s good for you ☺).
While I certainly believe in the threats of extreme illness (as we are all currently so vulnerable to) and that one should tend to their health, and take care of themselves, I do wonder about those who show this kind of resiliency in life. A resiliency to keep going, no matter what, no matter the pain, no matter the annoyances, the aches, etc. (fellow blogger Bridget found this kind of resiliency among the friends she made while in Haiti).
Is it possible that we can nurse our own healing with preventative measures such as determination, laughter, and a good time?
Scientific American appears to suggest so in a study that links humor to lower mortality rates, with special protection against cardiovascular disease and infection. If that’s the case, it’s time for me to surround myself with more humor and lightheartedness.
And you should, too. It’s April Fool’s Day. Today, we all need a little foolishness more than ever.
A friend posted a message with this tidbit:
“When you throw babies in the air, they laugh because they know you will catch them. That is trust.”
Right now, trust is hard to come by. We are worried and flustered. Accustomed to doing what we want, when we want it, we are now subject to our country’s new stringent rules.
But let’s remember that the real authority we are subject to is God. He is in control and is worthy of all of our trust. If we believe and claim this, we can live with the same kind of abandon as a laughing baby tossed in the air.
And we can start by counting the blessings of our new circumstances. Blessings such as basking in sunlight, smelling the aroma of home-cooked meals, tasting a juicy orange, letting our dog lick our face, and enjoying a good cackle with those around us.
Though we are locked down by doors and fences, we are free. Free children of God, our Father. He has given us life and though it’s not always smooth, we can find joy in its meanderings.
So, get messy with life today. Have fun, tell a joke, play a prank. We’re all learning that these are the things life is really made of anyway, right?