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Importance of Humor

Humor is hope’s companion in arms. It is not brash, it is not cheap, it is not heartless. Among other things I think humor is a shield, a weapon, a survival kit.”

— Ogden Nash


My grandfather was a navigator on a B25 in WWII. A few months before the war ended, he was on a mission and his plane got shot down. He was among 3 who got captured as Prisoners of War (POW) at a Japanese war camp. For the next five months, he endured what anyone would imagine at a war camp: torture, lack of food which lead to malnutrition and even an almost beheading. My grandfather was the only survivor of his crew by end of the war. For decades after the war, he would question his survival which lead to writing a book entitled Winking at Death. In this memoir, my grandfather explored this never-ending quest for why he survived and his fellow soldiers did not. His conclusion was he held onto humor and by doing so, held onto hope. He recalled naming the cockroaches that frequented his jail cell and would talk to them as companions. He would engage in conversation with the Japanese soldiers and tell jokes with his fellow cellmates. He would find humor and simple pleasures; in the details that we so often do not even notice in the business of our lives.

I share this story as it is one that I remember hearing as a little girl and I have always held onto in the toughest times in my life. We always have the CHOICE to choose humor and hope. I view happiness as times of excitement when something exciting has happened in our lives. I view hope as as deeper peace that no matter the situation, is always present. It does not mean that anger, frustration, sadness fear do not arise. It means that we always have this joy as a foundation to which we can return.

In the midst of a global pandemic and an invisible enemy that we do not understand fully-one that is unpredictable and has robbed us of security, safety, routine and peace of mind-anger, frustration, sadness and fear is certainly prevalent. I encourage you, as my grandfather did and as this quote emphasizes, to seek out humor in the small things and laugh-laugh a lot!

As a butterfly has to be quarantined (in a way) inside their cocoon in order to transform and flourish into a beautiful butterfly, I hope that your quarantine is just that-a time to transform and a time to become the most beautiful version of you!

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