Mar. 21, 2019

Laughter! The Best Medicine!


“I love to laugh
Loud and long and clear
I love to laugh
It's getting worse every year

The more I laugh, the more I fill with glee
And the more the glee
The more I'm a merrier me, it's embarrassing
The more I'm a merrier me.”

Remember that great song from Mary Poppins? Ed Wynn floating up near the ceiling and Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews describing all sorts of silly kinds of laughter? Made you laugh, didn't it!

The Laffy Taffy candy company sells little candies in a variety of flavors, i.e., blue raspberry, cherry, strawberry, grape, banana, watermelon and so forth, wrapped individually with a joke on the inside. For example: “What do you call a cow with no legs? – Ground beef!” you get the idea. Anyway, Laffy Taffy conducted a survey of 1,500 people which showed that Arizona is No. 1 in a national ranking about how often people laugh. The bottom of their list of happy places was California with 35 percent of residents laughing only ten times a day. (I’d say the traffic and commute times have something to do with that). The people who make us laugh the most are our significant others, followed by our friends. Our kids make us laugh, like this picture of Jessie, laughing from the simple joy of swinging in the sunshine, then our siblings. The lowest humor providers were mom and dad, which is just sad. Almost everyone in the survey said they enjoy making others laugh.

I’m sure you’ve heard that the National Cancer Institute has laughter therapy: “A type of therapy that uses humor to help relieve pain and stress and improve a person’s sense of well-being. It may be used to help people cope with a serious disease, such as cancer.”

Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts your mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the effects of stress. When we were kids we laughed hundreds of times a day, but as adults...not so much. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. Also helps you release anger and forgive sooner. I guess that means that when somebody cuts you off on the freeway, if you can laugh instead of shaking your fist at them you’ll feel better. There are 42 references to laughter in the Bible and here is the best one ever...

“...where is your wife, Sarah?” “There in the tent,” Abraham replied. Then the Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sara was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh,” but he said, “Yes, you did laugh!” Gen.18:9-15 (NIV)

“Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said...she became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him...Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Gen.21:1-7 (NIV)

And what does the name Isaac mean? Laughter!

Laugh a lot this week. You’ll feel better. And people will wonder what you’re up to!

And just to end with a laugh: Knock knock.  Who’s there?  A little old lady. A little old lady who?  All this time, I had no idea you could yodel.

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them.” Ps. 126:2