Laughter: Medicine for the Soul
A cheerful heart is good medicine.Proverbs 17:22
Once you start laughing, you start healing.Sherry Argov
The secret to a long life… laughter. The secret of a long-lasting relationship… laughing together.Unknown
I pulled a prank on my husband.
Yes, we’re those people. And we always have been those people since we met in college.
In everyday life, we look for the comical. And it’s not uncommon to find us doing something spontaneous within the walls of our home.
We might be odd, but then again, who isn’t?
The most recent prank I pulled on my husband was pretty simple. We had a new, large pack of toilet paper that was sitting out on our floor for a couple of days. Neither of us had gotten around to putting it away, so on the floor it stayed. While my husband was taking care of chores around the house, I decided to do something different with the toilet paper. I wanted to have a little fun.
The bathroom attached to our bedroom didn’t need more toilet paper, but I decided that it did. I stacked, and stacked, and stacked all of the newly bought package. When I was finished, all that remained was a large, single column of toilet paper directly next to our toilet. I was proud of my work and hopeful that it wouldn’t topple over before my husband noticed, and thankfully, it didn’t.
A couple of hours went by and my husband finally entered our bathroom. He stopped, and let out a half-annoyed laugh realizing he had been pranked. I was quick to follow him into the bedroom, to see him looking at me with a smile and shaking his head.
This is usually how our pranking ends- one person laughing at the “gotcha” moment, while the other person realizes what just happened, and then we both laugh about it more later.
In that moment, I must have thought the joke was much funnier than he did, and I couldn’t stop laughing. I let out a big belly laugh, and continued to laugh for several minutes while my husband didn’t understand how I could find the prank that funny. Maybe it was the lack of sleep (motherhood can do that), or too much sugar that evening, either way, I found it pretty funny.
What I didn’t expect was my 3-year-old son’s reaction. He had been playing with Legos in the kitchen, which usually keeps him pretty enthralled. To my surprise I heard him shout over my laughter,
“Mommy, do that again!”
I was confused as to what he wanted me to do again, as he had absolutely no idea what prank I just pulled in the bedroom.
As I left our bedroom, I found him running full speed to meet me. He clearly wanted to see what he had missed. He collided directly into my legs and looked up attempting to mimic the laugh that I had just made in the bedroom.
“Ohhh, you want me to laugh like that again?” He giggled and nodded his head, then attempted to mimic my laughter once again.
When he was well and tucked away in bed, I realized the effect my laughter had on him. There was something that captured his attention. That little 3-year-old boy desired to be a part of what was so funny. He didn’t begrudgingly get up to see what was happening; he ran. He desired to belong
In my closest relationships, we laugh a lot. There
Our laughing creates bonding and connection- it’s a beautiful trait that makes humans so special and helps us to build relationships.
It’s strange how laughter can connect us and create a moment of peace and relief. I had one of the most unexpected moments of laughter with my brother shortly after my dad passed away.
After a crazy day of travel, I was an hour too late to see my dad. As my brother led me to see my dad at the hospice center, my heart welled up. I knew he would be there, but he wouldn’t actually be there. My brain couldn’t wrap around the idea that his body was here, but his soul was now with God.
As we entered the room, I looked to my dad and continued to sob and sat down next to him. My brother sat with me and we cried. Over the next several minutes, the sobs slowly became fainter, and our breathing slowed. The brain fog was cleared, and we slowly gained the ability to communicate once again.
After my brother shared the details of my dad’s last day, we just sat and talked about the oddness of both of our days. I shared with him how I had one of the strangest travel experiences of my entire life.
On my flight down to see my dad, a TSA agent found an illegal knife in the pocket of my daughter’s stroller. The knife was larger than my hand and clearly didn’t look like something a mom would keep in her stroller pocket.
Surprisingly enough though, the knife was ours; it had been a gift. I didn’t know it was illegal, and I had used it on several walks with my kids to protect against attackers or wild animals (don’t mess with this mom). In my rush to pack, I hadn’t checked this particular stroller before tossing it in the trunk of our car.
In the moment with the TSA agent, I was so embarrassed. The agent had to take me aside to ask if I knew I had this knife in my stroller, and then he asked where I had gotten it. My brain was barely functioning trying to navigate a 2.5-year-old and a 6-week-old baby in the airport knowing that my dad probably wasn’t going to make it through the day (thankfully my mother-in-law traveled with us for extra assistance). I was positive I was going to be detained or fined for having an illegal knife on me. Seriously, of all days.
After several apologies, explaining how we had gotten the knife, and insisting that the TSA agent just take it, we ended up making our plane. Needless to say, it ended up being the scary but funny story to share on the day that my dad passed away.
As my brother and I sat next to my dad, we knew that he would have found the stories all too funny. My brother had some odd stories from the day that also had me laughing. We could picture our dad’s laugh in that moment; it was surreal realizing that we were sharing one more laugh with our dad.
It was one of the most heart-wrenching days of my entire life, and yet by the grace of God, there was laughter at my dad’s bedside. He would have wanted it that way. The laughter was slowly bringing in healing to our souls and allowing us to connect with our dad one more time, even if he wasn’t physically with us.
These stories of laughter bring more smiles to my face as I relive them. I’m reminded of the community that builds when laughter is present with friends, family, and even strangers. My children are the best at bringing in others to their community of smiles and laughter in public places
Life is hard. Marriage isn’t always easy. Motherhood definitely isn’t easy. And other relationships can be tricky too.
Laughter is good medicine to our souls in a harsh world. God truly gave us a beautiful gift that allows us to heal, bond, connect, and love those around us.
More on the Benefits of Laughter Here