I don’t know about you, but I’d rather take a kidney punch than be stuck in a room with someone who is a habitual downer.
King Solomon was of the same mindset: “Laughter is good medicine, but sorrow is a disease (Proverbs 17:22).” That’s pretty strong stuff, don’t you think?
A few thousand years later, in “The Crow,” Eric Draven said, “It can’t rain all the time.”
I concur with both. I believe laughter is essential for emotional survival. Most of my mom’s side of the family (she is pictured above on the far left, taken this past Christmas, with her brothers and sisters by her side) deal with chronic pain of one sort or another, and have had multiple surgeries. Heck, I’m 50 years old and have had four separate procedures myself. However, you’ve never heard a livelier bunch when we all get together. Oh, every now and again you’ll hear one of us complain about the onset of some new ache, but for the most part, we’re all about smiles and laughter.
Yep, looking into the faces of my uncles, aunts and my mom is to be literally staring into the eyes of pain. But that doesn’t stop them. It may slow them down, but it’ll never stop them.
As their mother, my Grandma Stroud, used to say, “Life’s too short to be miserable, honey.”
It takes real guts to laugh when the chips are down.
In the Bible, God promised Abraham and Sarah a child. Awesome, right? The only problem was that Abe’s age was approaching the century mark, and his blushing bride was around 90 years young. So they did what many senior citizens would do if they were told they were going to be parents: they laughed about it.
“Sarah then said, ‘God has graced me with the gift of laughter! To be sure, everyone who hears my story will laugh with me (Genesis 21:6).’”
They named their son Isaac, which, in Hebrew, means “He laughs.”
In the eight chapter of Job (verses 21 & 22), we also read this cool little promise: “I’m sure God doesn’t turn his back on anyone who is honest. And he doesn’t help those who do what is evil. He will fill your mouth with laughter. Shouts of joy will come from your lips.”
Anyone who is a member of my “Broken People – Mended Spirits” Facebook group will know I’m fond of quoting the Psalms. King David had so much heartache (much of it of his own making, as my friend Dave once pointed out to me), that I can truly relate to all his agony and suffering. That being said, however, he also had his cheerful times:
“It seemed like a dream when the Lord brought us back to the city of Zion. We celebrated with laughter and joyful songs. In foreign nations it was said, ‘The Lord has worked miracles for his people (Psalm 126:1-2).’”
Dark clouds are inevitable, but we need to seek out joyfulness and amusement. Why? Well, scientists have proven laughter really is the best medicine many times (see my previous blog, “The FDA-approved Antidote for Heartsickness”: https://brokenpeople.blog/2017/01/19/the-fda-approved-antidote-for-heartsickness/), but also, as Proverbs 15:15 says, “When a man is gloomy, everything seems to go wrong; when he is cheerful, everything seems right!”
Ain’t it the truth.
If those around you are bringing you down, perhaps you need to find a new crowd. Depression attracts depression. I struggle with it at times, but thank GOD my amazing wife, Laura, does not. She’s about as chipper as they come; encouragement is her greatest gift. She’s a real believer that “(b)right eyes and a cheerful expression bring joy to the heart, and good news revives the spirit and renews health (Proverbs 15:30).”
So don’t be afraid to laugh today. Will it help pay your past-due bills or straighten your crooked back? Absolutely not. But it will make life much more livable, and whisper a breath of fresh air to your tired soul.