Depression, Grief, Guilt, Laughter, Words of Endurance
Learning to Laugh Again
The nights of crying your eyes out
give way to days of laughter.
PSALM 30:5 (THE MESSAGE)
Fortunately, the good news for all of us who have endured or are presently enduring a season of brokenness is that our crying will “give way to days of laughter” – that is God’s promise to his children – there is “a time to cry and a time to laugh”. Thank you Lord.
Jan and I can both testify that we did learn to laugh again in the midst of our adversities. We loved comedies and one of our favorite movies at the time was What About Bob – Jan could so identify with Bob! The movie’s humor allowed us to momentarily step out of our reality – get perspective, balance and increase our endorphins – the “feel good” chemicals our body produces when we laugh.
We know it isn’t always easy to find humor or to be humorous in the face of adversity. At our lowest point, God brought into our lives friends, Bob and Patty, who laughed all the time. Their laughter was contagious and through their influence we learned to choose to laugh when our circumstances went awry. They helped us see that we could look at a situation and be frustrated or we could laugh at the situation and build up our endorphins!
We even began to learn to laugh at ourselves. Our first experience at laughing at ourselves was when years ago we spoke at our home church about pain and suffering. For Jan it was always a little traumatic when we spoke together. She is “Miss Organized” and has to have everything planned out. I am more spontaneous and it drives her nuts. One of the last things she said to me before we spoke was, “Dave, please don’t digress. When you do that I don’t know what to say – please Dave, stick to the notes!!!”
I’ll let her finish the story …
“To my surprise our talk went well at the Saturday night service and again at the 8:00 am service on Sunday so by the 9:15 service – the only service they videotape and audiotape – I was feeling good. I was really comfortable – perhaps too comfortable – because in the middle of the presentation where I normally said prolonged stress affects the brain, I looked out into the congregation and said, prolonged sex affects the brain!!!! The audience gasped – I then realized what I had just said!
For a moment I was horrified and didn’t know what to do. Then I realized the humor in my mistake so I looked at Dave with a great big grin on my face and said I can’t believe I just said sex! My honesty gave everyone permission to laugh – and with that the congregation started to roar with laughter! Dave was rocking back and forth on his seat and had tears running down his face he was laughing so hard. Then he picked up his Jan prepared notes and said ‘I don’t know about you honey, but that isn’t in my notes!’ I then started to howl and the congregation howled with me!!!”
There we were in the midst of talking about pain and suffering and we were laughing! It took a few minutes for us to regain our composure and continue with our talk. It was good to learn later that after the service they sold a record number of audio and videotapes – this made us laugh again!
I realize that you may not be in a place where you can laugh right now. If that is your situation – don’t feel guilty. But do remember that laughter is a gift. It doesn’t mean we deny the reality of what is happening but it does provide a momentary distraction from the pain. It is a healthy diversion – good for the body as well as for the soul. When we choose to laugh our difficulties become easier to bear. It is also good to remember …
For everything there is a season,
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
ECCLESIASTES 3:4 (NLT)
On the Journey with You,