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Love and Marriage Article

Learning To Laugh And Love Again

by Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

Our favorite poem was written by Ralph Waldo Emerson (American Essayist & Poet, 1803-1882) and it goes like this:

“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.”

Charley’s Mother used to say, “Life’s too short to spend it being sad or mad!”  She always told her children to “Engage in a good old belly laugh at least three times a day.  It is good for the soul and it will ward off those things that make you sad and mad.”

While Mom and Ralph Waldo Emerson didn’t utter the same expressions, their meaning is the same – laugh often and much!  Laughter is usually the best medicine for getting us over the hump when something goes bad.  Lost love is no exception.  Love goes bad, friendships end, trusted mates betray us, marriages fail, people you love deeply sometimes die, and the world reveals all too often that it is not always a fair, just, and beautiful place.

The truth is, it is easy to fall into a state of depression when things go bad, and this is especially true when you fall out of love with someone or when someone falls out of love with you.  This stuff happens.  It’s natural.  It’s part of life.  And sometimes it happens when we least expect it.  But in the end, how we react to love lost tells us more about who we are, where we are going, and where we will end up on the path of life.

When things go bad in our relationships with others, it is easy to feel sad – to feel remorse—to feel loss – to let depression take over.  But here is the truth – it doesn’t have to be that way!  Oh, sure, all lost love has a grieving process associated with it.  It takes time to get over it.  And while it is okay to feel grief, depression, and loss for a period of time, when it consumes your being, it is time to step back, take stock, and remind yourself that it is time to move on.  Life is too short.  Take a deep breath and let lose when a thunderous belly laugh.  Make yourself do it.  You will feel so much better.

When we take stock of ourselves and our life somewhere down the road of life, we will have in our memory bank thousands of thoughts about love lost, love gained, friends made, and people we met along the way.  But through it all, if we will just remember what really matters – how we conducted our life, how we treated others, how we made the world a better place to live because of our good deeds – we will be remembered as a good person who succeeded in life, as trying as life can be at times.

In the end, the feelings of love lost will pass on with a great belly laugh and the performance of good deeds.  When all is said and done, it is we who determine how we feel, how we respond to adversity, and how we recover from life’s great challenges.  In the end, we will be remembered by how we treated people, by whether we made positive contributions to the world, and by whether we left the world better than we found it.  In the end we will be remembered by those we loved and by those who loved us.  Let’s love someone deeply today, risks at all.  What have we got to lose?

Mom and Emerson had it right.  Learn to love and laugh.

Love well!

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