“Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.” One thing is certain: a happy event doesn’t take away the emptiness of the soul. When your heart is aching, laughter can be a welcome relief, but it’s often superficial compared to the ache inside. People even laugh as they converse with each other at a wake. It doesn’t mean your heart isn’t aching.
Surface realities aren’t the whole story and may hide more difficult and painful feelings. According to Ecclesiastes (7.2, 3, 4, 6), sorrow better reflects reality than joy. (Then again, that’s just the writer of Ecclesiastes being cynical!) But it certainly is true that there is a significant difference between people on the surface and people on the inside. That’s no surprise to anyone, I know. It’s a proverb, though, and this one isn’t an advice-giving one. It’s just expressing a reality that is too familiar to most of us. Nothing in life is guaranteed, and when the heart aches, it takes more than a good joke to heal.