Nancy and I taught together at the same school for seventeen years until she retired. (Yes, the same name, teaching the same grade.)
One morning she and I simultaneously climbed out of our vans, side-by-side in the parking lot, said good-bye to our kids, grabbed our multiple totes of stuff (teachers were the original bag ladies, you know), and headed to our classrooms.
As we traipsed up the slight rise to our building, we commiserated over the long-to-do list requiring completion before Spring Break. Our hands were on the doorknobs when Nancy said, “ ‘You know what we need?”
And in the split second before she answered her own question, I thought, Hallelujah! Nancy, with all her wisdom, common sense, and problem-solving skills has an idea to lighten our loads!
“What we need,” she concluded, “is our lipstick!”
I burst out in a very unladylike guffaw. You see, neither one of us had yet completed that step of our morning routine. And though life does go better lipstick (as most women would agree), it does fall short of erasing to-do-list chores.
Nonetheless, as I entered my classroom that morning, the tension in my spirit and shoulders was erased. I felt renewed, powered up to face the challenges of the day. Nancy’s humorous comment had indeed lightened my load—at least attitudinally.
That old song we used to sing years ago at church was right:
- Verse 1: “The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10c, repeated four times).
- Verse 2: “If you want joy you must laugh for it” (4 times).
- Verse 3: “Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha” (4 times).
Who could finish a song like that without a genuine case of the giggles?
Laughter works wonders to stir up happiness, contentment, and even improved health.
Remember King Solomon’s observation?
(“A cheerful heart is good medicine.”
And the medicine is all the more powerful when enjoyed in pleasant company.
Laughter shared is multiplied.
With improved health may very well come longer life.
(“He who laughs, lasts.”
–Mary Pettibone Poole)
And even if that’s not quite true, this bit of wisdom certainly is:
(“Laughter may not add years to your life,
but it will add life to your years.”
Besides laughter, another ingredient for that cheerful-heart medicine is: trust.
(“The one who trusts in the Lord will be happy.”
–Proverbs 16:20b, HCSB)
When our trust is strong, we can be light-hearted and content. After all, God is:
- Completely trustworthy, never forsaking those who seek him (Psalm 9:10).
- Gracious, surrounding us with his favor (Psalm 5:12).
- Wise, making known to us the path of life (Psalm 16:11).
- Attentive, sustaining us here on earth (Psalm 18:35), and
- Loving, preparing our eternal home in heaven (John 14:2).
Childlike trust in God allows us to relax and enjoy childlike fun–even exuberant hilarity, belly laughs and irrepressible giggles.
(“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with shouts of joy.”
So look for laughter. It’s everywhere!
Just this morning, our daughter-in-law, Hilja (a family practice and psychiatry resident), shared this story with me:
She was headed out the door to see a massage therapist for her aching neck.
“Where are you going?” asked her daughter, Elena.
“You need to see a doctor,” remarked Elena. After a pause, she added, “Wait a minute…
… I’M a doctor!” (Her toy physician’s kit has three-year old Elena convinced she’s as qualified as Mommy to advise and treat patients.)
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Where has laughter and good cheer provided therapeutic medicine for you this week? Please share in the comments below. Laughter shared is multiplied!