I’ve walked through a fair amount of sadness lately—some sadness that was my own and much sadness stemming from the circumstances of others I love. For a variety of reasons, I’ve probably cried more in the last six weeks than I have in the last six months. Grief and difficulties are like that, ya know? They often come in waves. Sadness in this world shouldn’t surprise us. Actually, Jesus promised us we would have trouble (John 16:33).
But I’ve also been learning about the real, therapeutic, God-appointed role of laughter. The Proverbs are clear, “A cheerful heart does good like a medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).
My (almost) 2-year-old daughter loves to laugh. There is no doubt that she is fun-loving and always looking to have a good time! Annie immediately joins in on even the slightest hint of laughter from another. You chuckle a bit and, upon observing your slight amusement, she will belly laugh. It certainly appears as though she is poised and ready…waiting for her opportunity to fan the cheer of her heart into flame.
Annie has the privilege of having a very limited view of the world’s fallen nature. Her biggest tragedies at this point occur when the cookies run out or I refuse to let her write on the wall with a Sharpie. But I clearly have much to learn from her. How many days do I walk around with a crushed spirit (which crushes others), rather than pausing to rest in the Sovereignty of my loving Father, refusing to take myself (or my shortcomings) too seriously, and enjoying the goodness of God?
Looking back over the last few weeks, I’ve seen the mercy of God provided to me in laughter. Late nights perusing Tim Hawkins YouTube videos with my husband, sweet friends in one piece footie Christmas pajamas, ridiculous Yankee Swap games, and tacky sweaters with our community group have been just the therapy I’ve needed. If you’re headed into the holidays with heaviness, consider “treating” your wearied soul with one of God’s simple but most powerful gifts to us—laughter. Allow yourself to laugh ‘til your belly hurts and I’ll bet your heart will feel better.