I’ve been listening to Amy Poehler’s new book, Yes Please, on my commute. Amy (we’re on a first name basis) reads her own audio book with all sorts of hilarious special guests and it has made my time in the car infinitely more enjoyable this week.
At one point, she talks about how when we’re down, we really want to read the depressing news and watch Oprah and hear about all these people who have endured horrible things, but what we need to do is laugh. She recommends this SNL skit as a remedy for low-level depression.
I have to say, I agree with Amy. When I’m feeling stressed or exhausted or lonely, I tend to want to watch movies like The Fault in Our Stars, but that just makes it worse (I know, it’s surprising).
So, per Amy’s advice, I have been seeking out every opportunity to laugh this week (which includes listening to her book), and guys, it’s like magic. Laughing makes you happier. I’m not sure they’ve studied it or anything, but they should because it would be statistically significant. This has been a great week, and I have been so happy. I’ve also found that laughing begets laughing. Once you’re laughing, it’s easier to find other things funny and laugh at them, and it’s easier to make other people laugh (see the SNL sketch, above).
Last night I went with some friends to see “Guardians of the Galaxy”. It was funny (but there was a lot of violence, which I don’t like) and I really loved the character development. I loved each of the five main characters, the ways they came together, and their unique personalities. Groot was my favorite, but I don’t want to spoil the movie for you by saying why.
At one point in the film, Chris Pratt has asked the other four to join him in a battle that the raccoon points out will kill them all. One by one, they decide that they will join him in the fight, but Drax’s line struck me:
“You’re an honorable man, Quill. I will fight beside you. And in the end, I will see my [dead] wife and daughter.”
Sitting in the somewhat-uncomfortable $2 theater chairs last night, I thought, “To live is Christ and to die is gain. This is what that looks like. Except there are talking raccoons and a lot of things are about to die.”
When I’ve heard that verse before, it’s always felt like life should be good because Christ is with us, that our lives should be glorifying to God and then we get to die and be with him. It’s seemed like a platitude, that better things are ahead but that Jesus is with us now, so we’ll be okay.
I think perhaps it’s less of a platitude and more of a battle cry.
Deciding that “to live is Christ” is deciding that I believe that Christ is here, is active, is fighting for the good and the redemption of those he loves.
It’s also deciding that I believe in that cause and I will fight beside him.
It’s knowing that this will surely end in death, but that death is not the end. In the end, I will see the One that I love.
Today, my battle is in fighting back the darkness by learning to laugh. It is in finding the light in the dark places and showing it to others (and to myself).
Because the Good of those God loves? It is joy and love and hope and laughter.
We will win this battle yet. To live is Christ.