This week I talked with Mo Ali about racism in aid. It’s a heavy subject and we only scratched the surface in 30 minutes. Interestingly, one of the things that sticks in my mind about it, is that we laughed. We laughed even though the subject was heavy and serious. Not nervous laughter, but the genuine, spontaneous version.
I remember this happening too in the depths of grief after my Mom died. Laughter. Genuine laughter when I was with close family or friends. People who knew her and me.
There is something innately human about laughter. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a metric or indication of trust. And here’s the thing, I don’t laugh a lot. I never have, so when I do it stands out. In neither of the above situations jokes weren’t being told, rather moments of connection were being experienced. It was joy amidst the grief and heaviness. And it was an indication of trust in the other who was present. This week Mo, 8 years ago many others.
Trust is fundamental to our work in change. And trust is often about feeling ‘seen’, feeling ‘heard’. Maybe laughter isn’t the right metric, figuring out what is, is important work to do.
Do the work.