Laughter: Don’t Do Life Without It

By Sharon DiStefano

A cheerful heart is a good medicine.”—Proverbs 17:22

As you read the Bible, you may find yourself chuckling at times. I can’t help but laugh when I read some of the humorous ways God got his point across.

2 Chronicles 21:20 – “Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. No one was sorry when he died. They buried him in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery.”    Evidently Jehoram was not well liked!

Look at Jonah.  He was a man who loved God, but refused to go to Nineveh.  After running away from God in a boat Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by a big fish.  He lived in the acidic smelly belly of this creature for three days.  At the appropriate time, this large fish spit him up onto the shore.  So, bleached white and void of hair from the acid, he walked into Nineveh and probably scared them to death.  Now that’s a creative God who sees humor as a way of stopping our pride.

A cheerful heart is a good medicine.”—Proverbs 17:22

Laughter has the ability to break down walls.  When we can honestly laugh together, we can honestly talk together.

Laugh at yourself: 

How many of you dated in the late 70’s? Do you remember the big round a-line skirt and clogs?  I was wearing this sweet outfit when I was on a date and needed to use the restroom at a gas station.  On the way back to the car, I noticed people were smiling at me.  When my date opened my door for me and I sat down, I felt the cold vinyl seat on my backside.  My skirt was tucked completely into my underwear and my whole self was out there for the world to see.  That’s something I can look back on and laugh even though I was thoroughly embarrassed at the time!

 

Laugh with you spouse: 

I learned a valuable lesson as a young wife and mother.  At the time, I was dealing with a fear of failure.  I never wanted to show a weakness for fear that I would disappoint the ones I loved.  I was about to face a situation where I had to make a choice.

The doorbell rang one afternoon and a young man stood there trying to sell me frozen meats from his truck. He fed me a story about his truck freezer breaking down and needing to sell it quickly.  He was giving me a great deal! I bought it! Hook line and sinker.

When my husband came home, I began telling him what happened. As I was explaining, it became obvious to me that I was a sucker. My old feelings of fear of disappointing him came back and I had a choice to make. Should I try and make excuses and push the blame onto someone else, or just take it.  I took it.  I began to laugh at myself and exclaimed what an idiot I was!  My husband joined in with the laughter.  It totally changed the way I looked at my failures, and how I interacted with my spouse.

Henry Ward Beecher, “A marriage without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road.”

 

Laugh with your children: 

Adults laugh, on average, three times a day.  A 4 year-old laughs 300 times in a day. Somewhere along the line, we forgot to see the humor in things.

When my middle daughter was 3 years old, she took a marker and wrote all the way down out hallway. After being punished, I heard her little voice talking to herself.  I walked into the hallway and saw her with another marker in her hand holding it about an inch away from the wall and proclaiming, “I can’t write on you”. She then moved farther down the hallway and said again, “I can’t write on you.” She did this all the way down the hall. I burst out laughing, and so did she.

 

Let people see you laugh: 

I turned 51 this year.  We have a tradition of celebrating birthdays at home with a meal, presents, cake and ice cream.  I told my husband I wanted to do something different this year.  I wanted to go bowling. Our family all stumbled into the bowling alley, including my mother in law, in her scooter.  We got our shoes, eventually found the right bowling balls, and ordered a really bad pizza.

After playing one game, we were all exhausted but laughed and laughed and laughed. It was the best birthday in years.  I got out of my comfort zone and my grown children saw me having fun.

I regret that when my girls were young, I didn’t play with them enough.  My advice is to take a break from the chores, get away from Pinterest and Facebook and play with your children.  Learn what makes your children laugh and let them see you laugh.

 

 

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Sharon DiStefano has been married to Pastor Allen for 30 years.  They have three daughters, Lauren, Brittany, and Jenna, two sons-in-law and a grandson due in December!  She is the set designer at Grace Family Church.  

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