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Engraved faces?

Okay, true confessions here - have you ever dropped like a whole box of paper clips and watched in horror as they skittered all over the floor, or worse yet, that box of straight pins? I have and let me just tell you that a bag of beads is even worse! As the saying goes, "If I didn't stop to laugh, I'd just cry". Some of life's littlest hassles can seem really big in those moments, huh? We forget there are bigger ones others are facing - much, much bigger than a few paper clips, straight pins, or beads that require us to scour the floor to pick up. 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 is "Laughter is the Best Medicine" - something that has made me chuckle on more than one occasion. Why is it we enjoy laughter more than tears? I don't think any of us like the tears we shed, but there is something quite 'cathartic' about a good cry!

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 or soiled washrag. Ever see a dried washrag? It is brittle, stinky, and pretty inflexible! No wonder we enjoy the cheerful laughter moments so much! There is an old Jewish proverb: "What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul." Think on this one for a moment. Tears have a real "cathartic" effect, something we may need on occasion. We may feel a little "wrung out" for a while, but there is definitely something "cleansing" in having shed those tears. William Shakespeare reminds us, "To weep is to make less the depth of grief." So, tears are really not a bad thing - we may dread them, ward them off, and attempt to remain stoic in our grief, disappointment, or fears, but we shouldn't deny our body's the right to shed those tears.

Why is it we prefer laughter to tears? The clue lies in the word "disposition". It is not the tears that do us in, it is the disposition we maintain throughout the ordeal we are facing! 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" 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 that leaves you with tears leaking from your eyes and your side hurting, but oh so much endorphin release has occurred. 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!

Disposition is everything. How we approach life's challenges is based on our disposition - the "set of our spirit". It is truly a sad thing to be so weighed down by life's griefs so that it affects the very bones of our frame! Yet, there are many who carry loads beyond their bearing - all because they choose a disposition of holding onto their grief, disappointment, or fear instead of letting it go! Why do you think the scriptures warn against holding onto unforgiveness? Easy! It affects our disposition of spirit! We call its effect "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 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 some time! Just sayin!

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