Some weeks are just better than others. I seem to sail through life relatively unscathed for a time, and then hurricane winds hit and the boat sinks. When that happens, I can do two things: complain or find the silver lining.
Dad used to say that the only thing he had to leave us with was his sense of humor. If he had been a multimillionaire, he couldn’t have left me anything more valuable. Laughing at life, and at myself, has kept me alive and kicking. It’s awfully hard to find the silver lining sometimes without the ability to laugh in the face of adversity.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught in one of my favorite General Conference talks of all time great lessons on how to face adversity. I highly encourage everyone to read it. One of the things he taught was that we should learn to laugh.
The next time you’re tempted to groan, you might try to laugh instead. It will extend your life and make the lives of all those around you more enjoyable (Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Come What May and Love It,” Oct. 2008 General Conference).
The best memories of my childhood were the moments of laughter. Dad had a loud, infectious laugh, and Mom laughed right along with him — except that her laugh was silent as her belly jiggled up and down. These are wonderful memories that I wish every child could experience. No matter how bad things got, my parents could laugh. They not only found the silver lining, they cloned it and sewed it into the lives of their children.
Some of the darkest moments of my life have been turned around while laughing. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
Finding the silver lining isn’t always easy and, like everything worthwhile, it requires practice and patience. Sometimes the silver lining is simply looking at our stressed-to-the-max selves and thinking, “I’m a total disaster, and I look a mess, but I’m alive and kicking.”
Lately, I’ve been very blessed. I’ve had ups and downs in my life like everyone else, but for the moment, I’m at the top of the roller coaster. I know that there will be challenges in the future as we are getting older. For now, I’m counting my blessings and feeling grateful for this peaceful time in our lives. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have moments of temporary insanity. While there may not be any big crisis in our lives at this time, there are still those little frustrating moments when I want to scream.
I’m technologically stupid, and there are times when I want to throw my computer out the window. This morning when I couldn’t connect to my internet server, I did everything I was taught to do. I unplugged the modem and the router, waited 30 seconds, and reconnected them. After doing that several times unsuccessfully, my blood began to boil. I knew that if I called my son-in-law, he would come to my rescue, but I didn’t want to bother him. It’s only been a couple of weeks since he came over and installed a new bathroom fan for us, and he is a busy man. I called my internet provider, but they have changed the phone options, and I could not get through to a technician.
My husband left the house because he had something scheduled, but I think he was also glad to escape the tantrum he knew was brewing. As I sat there by myself, I began to see myself in a different way—in my pajamas, hair in full on “bed head” mode, red faced, and fuming. I began to laugh at myself.
It’s funny when you laugh at yourself; you begin to think more clearly. I realized what I needed to do to bypass the internet provider’s circular phone message and connect myself with a human being. As usual, my technical problem was more complicated and weird than the norm, and even the technical helper was stumped for a bit. Eventually, however, the problem was solved.
The number of problems that can be solved if we calm ourselves with laughter and find the silver lining is truly amazing. The silver lining for me was that I have a good internet provider who employs technicians who don’t give up — but it was the laughter that calmed my heart enough to find my way to that technician. The other silver lining — if I couldn’t fix it myself, I knew my son-in-law would bail me out. I just needed to take a step back, relax, see the good in the situation, laugh, and think logically.
Laughter is often how I find the silver lining in my problems. Laughter is not a bad thing. After all, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25)
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.