This piece is my personal response to the movie Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni.
It’s currently 4:18 p.m. in BC – 5:18 p.m. in Calgary – and as I gaze out the car window, I see mountains enveloped eerily by fog, covered in splotches of green, orange, yellow and red that take the shape of trees. I find that I’m only able to reflect upon one thing and every time I try to think of something else, I return to that same thought just as waves always return to the shore.
When my family was out gallivanting the streets of Kelowna, I burst out into laughter. I don’t remember what I was laughing at or where I was standing or what I was wearing. I only remember one thing and that is this: my ten year old niece peered deep into my eyes, smiled, and said quite frankly, “You’re always laughing. I like it.” And since then, I’ve been pondering on the idea of laughter, but all I can do is ask myself: “Why do we laugh?”
It’s taken me endless hours, countless days to simply swallow that question, so forgive me if the power of my question is lost in its answer.
Laughter. It’s an explosion of exhilaration that bubbles over from within one’s soul so that it’s visible to others. It’s a language that is spoken by all people – young and old, humane and inhumane. It’s a weapon used not for destruction, but for restoration and rejuvenation. It’s a force which binds one’s broken pieces together – a force which prevents one from falling apart. A means of thriving, rather than simply surviving, in the darkest of places and the brightest of places too. A strategy that can be utilized in order to win the wars with which we are faced in this life.
Laughter is a way of coping with the potholes and sharp turns on the road that we call life, but it’s also a way to express the joy of driving on a smooth, straight road. It’s a form of therapy, a type of medicine which works anywhere, anytime. An instrument which, when played, is able to make the weary and heavy-burdened lose their bodies to its infectious rhythm. A sort of sunshine which fits facilely into the pockets of ones lips – a sunshine which one can carry to any corner of the world. An art which can be mastered without any effort or any cost. An act of rebellion in the face of death, for laughter brings with it life wherever it goes.
But most importantly, laughter is what makes life beautiful. And that’s why we laugh… Because life truly is wonderfully and miraculously beautiful, even if it stands face to face with the Angel of Death.