The first time I saw Monty Python’s Life of Brian, the scene that made me laugh loudest was the final crucifixion scene. Obviously, I had not been brought up to find this funny, but to see Eric Idle’s cheerfulness while being strapped to a cross cracked me up. It reminded me of the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when they are performing “Camelot”, and the prisoner hanging from the wall is clapping along. There is something about rejoicing through trials that makes me laugh.
And at times like these, when you turn on the television and or go to the internet and you are faced with all sorts of horrible things going on in the world, all the way up to the highest echelons of power, there has to be a way to keep a smile on your face. There is so much going on in the world around us that can make us afraid, angry, and miserable. It’s important to look beyond the horrible stories people are telling to see what life really is.
Ultimately, I think that life is light. We certainly have to deal with our share of darkness and hardness, but it is in light that we truly operate.
Even in cartoons, when someone gets an idea, a light goes off. It is light that offers us the ability to see, to think, and to rejoice. In my experience of life, regardless of how dark things ever get, there is always the ability to find the light.
Occasionally, I am chastised for my optimism. There are certain people who seem to have been trained to be eternally pessimistic and judge my positive attitude as idealistic and naive. There are also people who look at the state of the world with the corruption in governments, reported violence, and the rising threat of pollution and climate change, and have reasonable concerns about our impending future.
Personally, I have come to grips with the fact that my life here on Earth is temporary. I know that there is a day that I will die and cease to exist in this plane of existence. I have also come to accept that there is a very good chance that, just like me and every other human individual, the lifespan of my species is also temporary. Based upon our response to many of the challenges facing us and our inability or lack of desire to change our ways, I’ve also come to accept that homo sapiens will most likely be the cause of our demise.
However, I’m not dead yet. Nor is my species. I wake up everyday with an endless supply of breaths. The Earth is still spinning on its axis, and the sun is still shining.
And although it can be quite easy to look at the manufactured reality coming through our various screens and even to look at some of the things going on in the actual world around me to find plenty of things to be miserable about, that’s not the state in which I want to spend the time that I have. Among all of the things that I could bemoan, there are far too many other things to rejoice about.
Granted, as a white, American male from a Christian background, I am one of the most entitled individuals on the planet. And I recognize that not everyone has it as good as I do. I therefore find it to be my responsibility to exude gratitude for this life I have been given and the auspicious circumstances in which I find myself. So although I am still faced with daily challenges, and do sometimes have to work to keep a smile on my face, I find it much easier when I look on the bright side of life.
This is my version of the iconic song. I hope you like it.