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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

power of laughter

I got an email from a close friend today that shared a story that made me laugh. I love stories where the punchline is not quite evident, the humor is "dry".

I like humorous stories so dry you get thirsty after hearing them. The British have a great way of doing that. Their humor is subtle but effective.

I love to laugh. It just seems like I haven't been able to do a lot of it lately. With all of the busyness of work (relocating the church, ministry - helping and praying with my church family through the pains and sufferings of life) it seems like there hasn't been a whole lot to laugh about.

Yet at the same time, let me remind you, as I have been reminded today, of the power of laughter.

It's been said that the average child laughs 300 times a day and the average adult laughs 15 times a day.

Somehow as we get older, we lose the power of laughter in our lives.

Solomon was right on target when he wrote in Proverbs 17:22, "A merry heart does good, like medicine." Laughter has been shown to have many health benefits, from reducing food cravings to increasing one's threshold for pain. It relieves stress and anxiety and improves your sleep. A good laugh really is good medicine.

Bob Hope made it to his 100th birthday, and so did George Burns. Coincidence? Maybe not, says Michael Irwin of UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine and former adviser for the federally funded National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. "Laughter releases endorphins—those 'feel good' hormones suspected of boosting immunity—and that might make you more resistant to disease."

There's also a social component to laughter; it brings people together. C.S. Lewis once said, "There's no sound I like better than adult male laughter." That's because there's nothing better than friends and family coming together to celebrate life and enjoy one another's company.

Last night, after our deacon meeting, Jon, Gary Aldo and I sat (stood) around swapping stories and laughing. As Solomon said, "it's like taking medicine to the gloominess of our souls."

Bonnie Hellum Brechill writes, "Crystal, our 5-year-old daughter, recently met an Amish girl her age. Within a few minutes they were off, hand-in-hand, to play. I caught glimpses of them chattering and giggling. Even though Sylvia, the Amish girl, spoke only a Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, she and Crystal got along well.

Later I asked Crystal, "Could you understand anything Sylvia said to you?"

"No," she replied.

"But you played so nicely together. How?"

"Oh, Mommy, we understood each other's giggles."

I like that.

This Easter season, let's pepper our lives with the joy of the Lord.

Let's celebrate Easter with the rite of laughter.

Joseph Bayly writes:

Christ died and rose and lives.

Laugh like woman who holds her first baby.

Our enemy death will soon be destroyed.

Laugh like a man who finds he doesn't have cancer or he does but now there's a cure.

Christ opened wide the door to heaven.

Laugh like children at Disneyland's gates.

This world is owned by God and He'll return to rule.

Laugh like a man who walks away uninjured from a wreck in which his car was totaled.

Laugh as if all the people in the whole world were invited to a picnic and then invite them.

When you're alone and when you're with friends and family, I encourage you to invest some time in laughter each and every day. You'll find that what Milton Berle said is true: "Laughter is an instant vacation."

You probably need it - and so do I.

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