The young family sitting on the crowded beach watched the boat slowly emerge and glide into the sandy shoreline. Two hefty men climbed out of the side of the boat into the thigh-high water, made sure the boat was securely beached and then positioned themselves at the edge of the small craft. They held their arms up as a woman in the vessel handed them each a wiggling overly-excited child. As the men carried their precious cargo to the beach, the woman gathered the other two children around her ready for another hand off. Once she placed the squirming little ones in the arms of the men who made their way towards the shore with their deliveries- it became the woman’s turn to disembark. The family watched (along with many others lined along the shallow beach) as the tall woman, rather than climbing over the side of the boat as the men had done, began sliding on the top of the bow towards the front of the boat. Perhaps she chose this route in an effort to keep her jean shorts and bright yellow smiley-face t-shirt from getting wet as the water was more shallow off the front. It was interesting entertainment to watch her slide slowly gingerly down the fiberglass top, but as she put her legs over the edge and went to turn so she could slide gracefully into the water, the cleat hitch on the front of the vessel grabbed the cuff of her shorts and pulled her forcefully back toward the hull. The six-foot-one woman jerked and was left to dangle in front of the boat..caught like a speared marlin. She squirmed, and swung, air-swam and swayed suspended off the boat’s edge. She was lampooned and unable to get off the hook- hanging helpless fodder for her audience of sandy onlookers and could do nothing but cry ” Help!” and wait for her companions to come wading to her rescue. As they gallantly lifted her off of the hook, the beach family joined the other laughing spectators as they responded with resounding applause.
Yes, that dangling damsel was me and I am thankful it happened before the days of Youtube or did not turn up on America’s Funniest Videos. To this day, it remains one of my “most embarrassing moments”. Nevertheless, I have told this story many times (usually to school kids, but still…) because it makes people laugh. Laughter makes for a merry heart and that, my friends, is good medicine for the soul and who couldn’t use some good soul-medicine?
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” — Proverbs 17:22
Laughter is chock-full of physical benefits. It relaxes muscles, boosts immunity, and protects the heart. It burns calories, lowers stress hormones, and has proven to decrease physical pain. Laughing eases anxiety, improves mood, and adds joy! It is a plethora of blessing.
“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them.” — Psalm 126:2
This week I put this concept of laughter as medicine to the test. Like many of you, I had my share of challenges. As I was writing this blog. I found myself paying attention to my laugh-out-loud moments and how they made me feel less fear, less tightening in the chest, less negative knots in the tummy, and more at peace.
You have turned my mourning into dancing; You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” — Psalm 30:11
Okay…”so did you hear the one about the…?” I can enjoy a good joke now and then, but there are many other ways you can be proactive and bring a bit of “merry” to your life each day. Here are a few suggestions:
- Check out funny youtube videos (My favorite is Gerry Brooks)
- Go to a comedy club
- Read amusing books
- Recall and retell humorous stories
- Do something goofy
- Spend time with jolly people
- Watch comedy movies
- Start your day with a smile and pass it on
God has a smile on His face.” — Psalm 42:5
Last Sunday, I sat at a long and loud table at Goodwoods Restaurant. I was surrounded by grandkids on one side and my husband and adult children on the other. As I savored my Sassy Sauce-covered chicken, I listened to the sweet sounds of cousins chortling at jokes only kids can understand. I laughed along with the adults at a rendition of an amusing encounter in an elevator. My oldest told a story of unwittingly opening a never-used garage door to have it “pop”, “pop”, “pop” off low hanging lights that had been placed there after the door was installed. I watched my daughter’s face light up as she chuckled over something silly one of the kids said. We laughed as my younger son did tricks with his crutches, making even a broken ankle funny. We giggled over book choices, 90’s prom dresses, and ripped off toenails. Family laughter mixed with love…to a mom and grandmother… this is the very definition of good medicine for the soul.
“He that is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” — Proverbs 15:15
Dear Lord, Than you for bringing laughter into our lives even in the midst of trials. Please bless each and every reader with a portion of laughter and Your incredible dose of joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen
“Let your heart be merry.” — Judges 19:6