And so in the last couple of days I’ve been reading and watching a lot about William’s life. One interview that is especially telling occurs during Williams 2001 appearance on Inside the Actors Studio, James Lipton closed the questionnaire portion of the program — as he does with every guest — with the following: “If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say at the pearly gates?” Williams speaks as St. Peter and says, “There is seating in front.” “The concert begins at 5. It will be Elvis, Mozart and anyone of your choosing.” And then for a moment Williams is serious and says, “If heaven exists it would be nice to know that there is laughter. That would be a great thing to hear God go; ‘Two Jews walk into a bar…”
Although it is true that many who suffer with addictions and depression, as did Williams, use laughter to cover up a deeper pain. It is also true that sometimes it takes being in the darkness to know in your heart, your gut, your soul what the light might look like. The tears of sadness that come out of great pain are taken I believe from the same deep well, the same inner source within our humanness as the tears that come when we can’t stop laughing. Perhaps sometimes, it is when you can have the courage to face and then find the humor in and the resolution to laugh at even some of the greatest discouragements in life that we can also find something of the glimmer of God deep within us.
I can’t imagine a Jesus who did not know how to laugh. In the Bible laughter is so important from the beginning. In Genesis 18 the story goes; Abraham and Sarah were old by this time, very old. Sarah was far past the age for having babies. Sarah laughed within herself, “An old woman like me? Get pregnant? With this old man of a husband?” God said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh saying, ‘Me? Have a baby? An old woman like me?’ Is anything too hard for God? I’ll be back about this time next year and Sarah will have a baby.” Sarah lied. She said, “I didn’t laugh,” because she was afraid. But he said, “Yes you did; you laughed.” Sara overcomes that fear and has the last laugh because she names the baby that is born Isaac, which in Hebrew means, “Laughter.” God had to snicker at that and I believe it is a reminder to laugh at ourselves and how it is that sometimes the only response to life, to ourselves is laughter.
May God bless the laughter you find in you life for today and when you meet God in the time that is to come.
Keep the Faith!