Laughter is the best medicine. We’ve all heard that before. And if you think about it, medicine is not something we normally enjoy. Mary Poppins sang about taking our medicine with a spoon full of sugar to help it go down. At least if laughter is a medicine, it doesn’t need sugar to make it pleasant. I’ll call that a win-win: it’s apparently the ‘best’ medicine, and we really enjoy taking it.
So, what exactly does this ‘laughter medicine’ treat? I think grief has to be at the top of the list. The losses in our lives lead us to various levels of grief. Our family is going through what seems like the deepest level of grief I can imagine: losing our teenager, Elijah. The daily pain is sometimes unbearable. I don’t expect the pain to ever go away.
But no matter what the causes of grief in our lives, we should never avoid going through the grieving process. We need to cry. Even when it seems like we are walking through Hell itself. I heard Ed Silvoso, founder of Harvest Evangelism, say recently: “If you find yourself going through Hell, don’t stop! By all means, keep on walking. Eventually you’ll get through it.” Even King David experienced what it was like to walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23).
So even though our hearts feel crushed, we keep looking for joy to be a comfort to us. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22). There you have it. Laughter is indeed good medicine.
Laughter won’t eliminate the pain or fear we feel, but it will definitely help us move beyond those things. And how can we not laugh at the irony we sometimes experience in life. This week I visited our cousin, Dr. H. Norman Wright, in Dallas. We had planned to have dinner together and talk about my recent family trauma. Norman was leading a seminar and invited me to join the session right before dinner. I entered the meeting room to discover I was seated with several hundred grief counselors. The title of the session was printed on the handouts: “How to Respond to Times of Sudden Death, Complicated Grieving and Trauma Experiences.” That was worth a smile. How ironic! But I literally laughed when Norman put us together in small groups to discuss a grief counseling session to deal with the loss of a loved one. Sometimes you’ve just gotta laugh!
The losses in life almost always surprise us. We can never be certain of what will be our next great challenge. But laughter is definitely a medicine that will help us to endure the pain. A cheerful heart can help us face our fears. That’s why I love the following quote:
“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.” (Herman Melville, Moby-Dick).
Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.
… I just wanted to just share quick with you something!…so I read your blog just now and I can’t help but laugh!..ironic?!.
…just wait for it..
So I had this dream last night that I was with Elijah and Isaiah babysitting them when they were young ..maybe Elijah was about 10?..so we were walking past a store and then all of a sudden Isaiah ran in and runs back out laughing, so I go in the store to check it out and Elijah figured it out and starts reenacting what Isaiah did..turns out he switched around all of the price tags… And we were all overcome with laughter! Watching Elijah reenact it…like the kind of laughter that keeps going and going, and just when you think youre about done you start uncontrollably laughing again, and laughin so much it hurts like you’ve just done some type p90x ab workout or something! But all three of us could NOT Stop so much so that I woke myself up laughing!
I couldn’t agree with you more,
Laughter is THE best medicine.
I love all the comments here, but this one touched me deeply. Not hard to figure out why. Thank you, Hilary. That made me smile deep inside.