To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and
endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded. + R. W. Emerson
I remember distinctly being 17 years old, sitting in a Wendy’s with a buddy. The comment went like this: “You know how sometimes you start laughing so hard you can’t even breathe?” He replied that he couldn’t remember laughing that hard.
“That’s the only time it counts. It only counts when you laugh until you can’t breathe,” i informed him.
I think since then, unlike most seventeen-year old know-all conversations, that has become one of my lines to live by.
And I can think over and over again of times I have laughed until I couldn’t breathe.
Last night was one of those nights.
Laughter and breathless tears.
The kind that leaves you sweating.
After incredible appetizers where the comment heard over and over was, “This is delicious? Who would ever think of it together, but it’s delicious” down to the cinnamon dulce dessert with cream cheese ice cream that had me craving the entire container hidden in the freezer, the meal set the artful stage in an already artful atmosphere for the holy kind of dinner and after dinner conversations that end, over and over again, in tears.
Now added to the stayed seventeen-year-old proverb will be the value of landing in a place where you laugh so hard you cannot breathe with people you don’t really know. It speaks to a letting go of circumstance and pomp, letting go of first impressions, and acting as you act with good friends. Perhaps in the acting, something actually changes.
My stomach this morning hurts from laughing till I was breathless and teary-eyed, and it reminds me that while the world goes not well, the kingdom is coming.