On laughter

It's a beautiful summer's day.
Hundreds of thousands are starving to death.
The song I like is playing in my ears.
Someone who doesn't deserve it has cancer.
He's still here.
She is not.

How do you reconcile these things? Do you laugh, or cry? How can you be happy when so many terrible things are always going on? Should you feel guilty for laughing and having a good time, when you know that someone you care about is miserable, and you can't do anything about it? These are questions that have often occurred to me, and are currently being driven home yet again.

I say no. Guilt would be the wrong reaction. You can't go through life miserable all the time, and there will always be problems in the world and in the lives of your friends and loved ones. They wouldn't want you to be miserable all the time. If you can do something to help, then by all means do so. But if you can't, then that doesn't mean you should do nothing.

You should laugh, if you want to. You should enjoy your health, your freedom, the company of your friends. And you should do it all the more because the ability to do so is a privilege that not everyone has. Laugh for them, because they can't right now. Savour your health, and hope that they can rejoin you soon. Live life harder, in memory of those you've lost.

Laugh if you want to, because you can.