Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Laughing in the Face of the Universe

David savored, too, though in lesser measure, the satisfaction of the earth's yield of kindly fruits.  He was laboring earnestly over his sermons and studying every available minute.  The idea of happiness as a moral concept kept recurring to him.  He had discovered in a special translation of Ecclesiastes a verse upon which he intended to preach.

For he (man) should remember that . . . God approves of joy.

Here was to him and perhaps to others a new idea.  He pondered upon it.  There was a dynamic force in happiness; it was positive; it was constructive.  It seemed, indeed, to be implicit in the universe even as was suffering and sacrifice, and perhaps to a greater degree.  (He made hasty notes upon this thought: a. More beneficence and fruition in nature than destruction. b. More natural beauty of color, light and sound than ugliness. c. Songs of birds, playfulness of animals, prevalence of laughter in mankind.)  It was conceivable, then, that the delicate cultivation of a happy spirit and the full exercise of joy whenever possible might actually constitute a conformity to the laws of God.  Might be a libation of human praise poured out to the Creator. . .

Take, now, the prevalence of laughter. . . There was in it a link somehow with the spirit, for only man laughed in the face of the universe.  Was it pure mirth or bravado or courage or did it arise from an unconscious conviction that "all would yet be well"?  Perhaps the evidence of man's ultimate indestructibility lay not in his prayers alone, then, but in his laughter.

-- Agnes Sligh Turnbull, excerpt from The Gown of Glory

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