Laughter is good medicine as Proverbs 17:22 reminds. “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” The American Heart Association recommends it. One cardiologist surprises his patients by telling them that the best prescription he can offer after a cardiac event is to go home and laugh until you cry. Apples may be good for you but laughter has quicker results!
So what are you laughing about? What starts as a respectable smile, bubbles up as a giggle, and gushes as can’t-be-stopped laughter and where do you find it?
I’ll admit it was easier when Lisa was young and we would just take a “silly” break. I would get her to laugh about something or she would say something that me laugh and we would fill the space between us with enough laughter to turn heads.
The internet tries to fill the space with videos about sleepy kids, adorable animals, or hilarious falls especially at weddings involving cakes! While there’s nothing wrong with private laughter, there is something that moves us to share it so we can laugh in tandem.
If laughter is such good medicine, we should be giving our families a good dose of it every day. When I am asked to give suggestions about how to sustain love in a marriage, I always share that it needs laughter! Pillow fights! Tickle time! Playful surprise.
We don’t laugh at ourselves enough. I don’t mean the deprecating, put-down laughter. I’m talking about a conscious decision to laugh about something when your tendency is to make it a “big deal.” Tell your insecurity to take a back seat. Rather than defending or explaining, laugh at yourself, not your shortcoming. Not only does it smooth over an awkward situation, it reminds you that mercy is new every morning and sometimes it’s the best gift you can give yourself.
As with all the seasons of life, it is critical to understand timing. If it is time to cry and you choose laughter instead, you won’t receive its gift. Of if laughter is your go-to way to get attention, a way to give yourself a step-up in circles where you want recognition; you get the attention without the healing.
I will never forget a pastors’ wives retreat where the presenter dedicated one session to this very subject. She gave us all red clown noses to wear. Try to have a serious discussion with your seat mate while staring at her red nose! It can’t happen. I remember taking my red nose home and surprising Lisa with it one morning. It was a light-hearted, quick-smile moment that began to unravel us in laughter. What a wonderful way to start a day that would have been filled with “don’t forgets” and “hurry ups.”
I have led enough sharing groups to know that a group won’t begin to share honestly without laughing together. That’s why activities that bring down security-appearance-control walls in healthy, fun ways are important. It’s not about being silly; it’s about using laughter as a way to build trust and camaraderie.
Today, find a reason to laugh. Tell a joke. Take a silly picture. See the humor in
your own imperfect actions. Then share the laughter with someone else. Maybe you won’t have to buy so many apples!