LOL-Laughing Out Loud

LOL-Laughing Out Loud

Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
Mark Twain

 

We have all heard the adage that laughter is the best medicine and this past week both of us saw those words come true once again.
I (Michael) spent time with a friend who for the last seven years has been going through an extremely difficult relationship.  My wife and I and some other friends spent the day with her at an amusement park.  She asked to do that because she knew she desperately needed to have some fun, to step away from the every day toll that her broken relationship had taken on her.  We thought that was a good idea too.  She needed a release, she needed relief, she needed a respite from her distress.  She had never been on a roller coaster that looped before.  She was nervous about getting on.  But after our encouragement and reassurance that the ride would be worth it–she agreed to try it.  And she was glad she did.  I sat next to her on the ride and from the moment it took off into the air–spinning us around–taking us upside down–twisting and turning at more than 50 mph–she laughed uncontrollably.  She did not stop for the entire ride.  It was the release she needed and for those few moments it took her bliss away from her longstanding distress and transported her to a place where for the first time in years she could see a glimpse of something brighter beyond her pain–that is what laughter can do.
I (Tom) was also reminded this past week of how much laughter can lift our spirits when life is weighing heavy on our souls.  There is a man from our church who has been dealing with chronic pain for many years.  He recently underwent major spinal fusion surgery to help give him some comfort from his pain.  Currently he spends most of his days in bed while his body tries to recover from the trauma it has experienced.  While on a phone call with him the other day, I made a joke about how I’m sure that his wife of 30 years + will appreciate it when he can be back on his feet so she can get some peace at home again and how she probably thinks he should just ‘suck it up’ and ‘stop complaining’.  Those few jokes and other like them caused him to laugh uncontrollably and it reminded me of how much we all need it when life is hard.  It was almost as if he hadn’t laughed that way in a long long time and therefore his soul was atrophying.  His soul was craving a good laugh, even just for a moment, to help him rise above his pain and sorrow.
In the years I (Michael) spent counseling people living with cancer laughter was an essential part of our conversations.  Many of the people I counseled grew to understand how vital it was to be able to laugh at the absurdities, the indignities, and complexities of the disease that was ‘trying’ to rob them of their spirit and life.  So many of them found laughter be an antidote that offered respite, even for just a few moments, and even for those few moments gave them a strength and a will and a sense of peace about doing what they needed to do to find wholeness and healing again.

We can never diminish the essential role that laughter plays in experiencing joy, in regaining hope, in overcoming disappointment, and providing strength to persevere, and in opening the door to find healing from our distress.  Laughter truly is the best medicine.  Our souls crave it because it helps transcend the every day difficulties and realities of our lives.  And as Mark Twain has said: “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”     

 

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