"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know." - Groucho Marx in Animal Crackers (1930)
I take things too seriously -- life, myself, everything. I often think I ought to spend more time laughing. I was watching a friend's two year old play tug-of-war with his mother and a scarf and laughing until he cried. I wished aloud that I could laugh like that, so easily. Maybe it's part of what God means by calling us to become like little children.
A couple of summers ago, on a whim, I brought the Marx Brothers' Animal Crackers home from the library for the kids to watch. I was thinking of Harpo, the silent clown, thinking that the kids would enjoy him.
At first, they thought I was crazy. "You want us to watch this? It's in black and white!"
But we did, and then spent the rest of the summer with Harpo and Groucho, Chico ("Chick-o," because he was so popular with the ladies) and Zeppo. We watched all the early films over and over, laughing until we cried.
There are all kinds of cliches about laughter, the best medicine and all that. But my favorite moments with loved ones tend to involve that deep laughter, the kind that you can't explain, the kind that, once it starts, you can't stop. The Marx Brothers, The Simpsons, Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, Calvin and Hobbes -- they give us this precious gift of release and freedom from the seriousness of life.
Because life is serious, but Jesus promised, "I came that you may have life, and have it abundantly." I never feel more alive than when I'm laughing.