Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Have you Laughed Today?

“A joyful heart is good medicine…” Proverbs 17:22

For one hour every Sunday night, the most blessed of sounds bathes me and cleans out the junk from the week. This is when Noah laughs and laughs. He is a joyful little kid who doesn’t hold back giggles any day or hour of the week, but on Sunday night the guffaws and chuckles and chortles and mirth gush from him like a waterfall cascading on thirsty rocks below.

This is when “America’s Funniest Videos” is aired on ABC.

The show is so simple in its format. For sixty minutes, we watch people bumble. Each embarrassing pratfall or trip is fodder for fun. It is human nature to find hilarity within someone slipping on a sidewalk, especially if they don’t hurt themselves. Maybe our laughter comes from relief that it wasn’t us or maybe it comes from the commonality of foolishness that we all experience. We have all fallen…some of us still can’t get up.

Noah may love this show so much because he is a natural “faller.” It’s not that he is clumsy; he just loves to fall down. My friend Stacey, borrowing from Star Wars, coined a phrase that we often say about our son – “Gravity is strong in this one.”

With each tumbling, Noah looks to see if we laughed and often punctuates his pratfall with his own giggles.

Last Sunday Pastor John talked about stress in our lives. He preached that laughter can be part of the cure. I thought about what he said and it occurred to me that I live in a pharmacy with stocked shelves. My husband John makes me laugh like no one else on the planet, especially as we watch TV. He comments, as do I, on everything we watch and we find each other incredibly witty. And then of course, there is the boy, who does things that just tickle me.

I am a loud laugher but I have no inhibitions about it anymore. I am who I am and God happened to give me a loud laugh. I also use laughter as a defense mechanism. Often I say inappropriate things at inappropriate times that really crack me up. Wisdom often comes in and helps me edit, but not always.

Have you laughed today? If you don’t have someone who makes you laugh, find your own “America’s Funniest Videos” and start your own convention of conviviality. Yep, I worked a little too hard to come up with that phrase. Maybe head on over to the library and get a humorous book. Dave Barry always cracks me up. Right now, I am reading Erma Bombeck’s “Motherhood is the 2nd Oldest Profession” and I laugh aloud every few pages.

Laugh. Give yourself a hearty dose of medicine for your heart. After you laugh, look around at your world with your heart, not your eyes. You'll understand what the poet Lord Byron meant:

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it.

Lord George Gordon Byron


ChicagoGirl said...

I tape "Ellen" each day and watch it when I have time....especially if I've had a tough day at work and can't sleep at night. I always end up laughing and soon I'm in a much better mood. I then find myself falling asleep. Laughter is better than Ambian.

Robbie Iobst said...

Chicago girl!! My pastor said the exact same thing - laughter helps you sleep so much better than Tylenol PM or Ambian. I think Ellen is a hoot!

Jan Parrish said...

"I am a loud laugher but I have no inhibitions about it anymore. I am who I am and God happened to give me a loud laugh." Robbie, I love your laugh. It's such a joy to hear. What a gift laughter is.

And, as you know, I can tend to say something inappropriate...

Love you!

dianne in colorado said...

Laughing is not only so good for you, it is good for others around you. When someone starts laughing, it is hard not to join it - even when you are wondering what is so funny. My grandma used to regularly read the "Humor Is The Best Medicine" column in Readers Digest. She is now 91 and her doctors regularly tell us there is no medical reason why she is still alive because her heart is in such poor shape. Who knows, maybe it is all those years of laughing!