Monday, November 7, 2011

Part one: I am Thankful for Laughter

laughter with friends
I was walking “the loop” in our neighborhood one day, when all of a sudden a girl in a striped top popped out of the grass-filled ditch to my right. She disappeared with a gasp, followed by giggles. Then I heard a deep voice say, “Pay no attention to the girls in the grass!” More giggles.
I laughed all the way home, every time I remembered the look of surprise on her face and her imaginative response to my presence. In fact, even more than a year later, I still laugh when I pass that spot sometimes.

When I asked my friend Lawrence where they kept the candy corn at Safeway, he told me a story. He said a friend’s four year old kept asking her for caution cone candy and she couldn’t figure out what he wanted. Finally, he pointed to a caution cone on their street and explained, “See, it looks like that and it’s orange and yellow and white.” 

 Just recently, I’ve remembered a funny story about my now twenty-four year old daughter. When she was about five, she loved to play doggie. One evening we were having dinner with my parents and Tara was crawling around the table. We were enjoying some adult conversation, but she kept yipping and scratching at our legs for attention. Finally, my dad said, “Heel doggie, heel!”

There was a momentary pause (or paws, as the case may be) while she tried to figure out what she was supposed to do. The only kind of healing she knew about was from the Bible stories we read every night at bedtime. Suddenly, she raised her hands in the air and exclaimed, “I’m healed! I’m healed!” She definitely got the attention she wanted when we all burst into laughter.

Just recently, Kelly and I went on a weekend vacation with another couple. We were desperate for a break from our busy schedules. For three days we ate, shopped, explored, played games, and laughed. A highlight of our trip was when we discovered crab hats in a late night foray and the shop proprietor took our picture together. We agreed that true friendship is when you can be crabby together.

Laughter is a great way to relieve stress. How many times has a surprise event sent you into fits of laughter and your tension melted away? People can say the funniest things and breathe new life into our day. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

My Grandma Leona lived well into her nineties, outliving three husbands, a beloved sister, and most of her friends. She experienced much sorrow, yet she had a zest for life that was contagious. She laughed a lot. She used to claim that “internal jogging” was part of her secret to longevity. I think she might have been right.

Thank you, God, for laughter. You obviously have a sense of humor - evident in the Bible, as well as some of the quirky animals and plants you have created (not to mention people). You help us laugh at ourselves. You delight us with the antics of children and pets. You give us smiles even on dark days. Laughter keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously. It energizes us; makes us sparkle. Laughter is good medicine.

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