The healing benefits and power of laughter is not a new idea. Almost 3,000 years ago Solomon, the King of Israel, wrote the following words in the book of Proverbs:
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
A good laugh, a joke, a little humor is like medicine. It heals, refreshes, and restores us. Without it we dry up. Our spirits are crushed. We lose hope.
I like this quote from an unknown author, found in an editorial in the New York Tribune:
A good, real, unrestrained, hearty laugh is a sort of glorified internal massage performed rapidly and automatically. It manipulates and revitalizes corners and unexplored crannies of the system that are unresponsive to most other exercise methods.
I don’t know about you but I could use a little massaging of those unexplored, tired crannies of my soul. The question is, how do you find joy or laughter when the corners of your life are bone dry and about to crumble? What do you do do when there doesn’t seem anything to laugh at?
In my last blog I encouraged you to learn how to laugh at yourself. Today I want to make two more suggestions.
1) Prime the laughter well
When I was growing up our well would sometimes go dry. In order to get the water flowing again my dad would have to prime the pump. Laughter is the same way. One great way to do that is to play games together. Turn your phones off, shut the TV off, close your computer down, stop sending tweets, don’t check your Facebook or count how many people have read your blog, and pull out a game and play it.
Laughter and play are closely related. Play brings you together. It develops community and a shared experience. When we play together we create the possibility of a mini vacation where we can escape the to do list and just be silly for a few minutes. Here are two great games that are great well primers.
Apples to Apples: A great game any age can play together
2) Share something funny with someone else.
May father used to say that cutting and chopping wood warms you twice. Once when you are cutting and splitting it, and again when you burn it. Laughter is the same way. When you are willing to share a silly story about yourself or something that happened to you, you laugh twice. Once when it happens, and then when you share it. In fact I find the more I share my stories the more I laugh. There are stories my kids ask me to share over and over again. And no matter how many times I share them we laugh as if it were the first time.
One of our favorites is about David finding himself in the house of someone he didn’t know. David was at a Young Life event and the leaders called to tell us they would bring David home. After pulling into the driveway they helped David out of the car and into the house. Once they got him in the door they said goodbye and started driving down the road. About ten houses down the passenger in the car said, “Oh crap, that’s David’s house!” I’m not so sure if I spelled crap right. They went back to the house and found David still standing in the doorway, not moving. I’m not sure if it was the pit bull growling at him or simply the fact he knew he wasn’t in the right house. We didn’t hear this story until David’s’ funeral.
So what is something funny you could share with all of us? Help us to massage and revitalize the corners and unexplored crannies of our souls, and in so doing get a massage yourself.