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I'm too tough to cry!

There is a saying goes something like, "If I didn't laugh right now, I'd probably be crying!" Golda Meir said, "Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart don't know how to laugh either." One of the most popular columns in the Reader's Digest when I was growing up was the "Laughter is the Best Medicine" feature. Why is it we enjoy laughter more than tears? Might it be that we equate tears with melancholy and tears with joy? Could it be that tears leave us drained, while laughter seems to build us up? Maybe it is because the more we cry, the deeper the worries set in and the more we laugh the worries seem to lift for even just a while.

A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. (Proverbs 17:22)

A cheerful disposition is good for our health! Sadness leaves us feeling like we have been wrung out and left to dry out like a used washrag. Ever see a dried, used washrag? It is brittle, stinky, and pretty inflexible - you can pick it up of the place it was left to dry out and it still has the shame of what it hung upon! No wonder we enjoy the laughter so much - none of us wants to be dried up, stinky old washrags that have been 'formed' by whatever life leaves us! There is an old Jewish proverb which goes, "What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul." Think on that one for just a moment or two today. Tears have a real "cathartic" effect for our bodies, don't they? We may feel a little "wrung out" for a while, but there is definitely something "cleansing" for our 'soul' in having shed all those tears. William Shakespeare reminded us, "To weep is to make less the depth of grief." So, tears are really not a bad thing after all, but they do seem to have a 'deep' effect in our lives.

So, why is it we prefer laughter to tears? Going again to our passage, the clue lies in the word "disposition". It is not the tears which do us in so much as it is our disposition! The prevailing "tendency" of our spirit is what determines either the sense of release, or the turmoil of remaining under an overwhelming burden. When the "tendency" (disposition) of our spirit is consistently submitted to God's will and his love, even the tears of sorrow can leave us liberated! Laughter is a good thing indeed. I enjoy a good belly-splitting laugh now and again. The kind which leaves you with tears leaking from your eyes and your side hurting - those are the ones that seem to release all those 'good hormones' that leave you feeling a little bit 'released'. There is nothing as enjoyable as sharing some laughter with a friend. In fact, to make light of a "faux-pas" is often the most delightful release! I actually seek out individuals who aren't afraid to laugh, especially at their own 'faux-pas'.

Disposition is everything. How we approach life's challenges when they are hurled our way is based upon our inward disposition - the "set of our spirit". It is truly a sad thing to be so weighed down by life's griefs until it so deeply affects an individual to the very bones of their frame! There are many who carry loads beyond their bearing - all because they choose a disposition which holds onto their grief instead of letting it go! Why do you think the scriptures warn against holding onto things that would best be forgiven? Easy! It affects our internal disposition - the disposition of our spirit! We call the resulting effect of 'holding onto wrongs' "bitterness" - it makes us "sour" on people, life, and sometimes even God. Why does scripture advise not to turn our backs on wise counsel? Simple! Unwise counsel trips us up and gets us down on ourselves. Gloom and doom leave you "bone-tired". As a nurse, I know this to be a fact. I see many a "worn-out" soul carrying many a burden beyond their 'bearable' capacity - all because they cannot or will not let it go! As some food for thought today, here's one final quote: "Time engraves our faces with all the tears we have not shed." (Natalie Clifford Barney) What is your face telling you about your disposition? Maybe it is time for a little release of what we have kept so deeply pent up for quite a long, long time! Just sayin!

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