Laughter Does Good

Erica Jong said, “Humor is one of the most serious tools we have for dealing with impossible situations.”

Wise words.

 I like what Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

One example of a person who used humor as a serious tool is my late brother-in-law.  Preston had juvenile diabetes.  He and my sister Patti grew up in the same church and were childhood sweethearts.  When Preston proposed, he told Patti that she was taking a risk with him; he would probably die young.  That was a risk she was willing to take, and they had seventeen years and two children together.

Preston had graduated from the University of Oklahoma and was well on his way up the ladder of success in his career.  Patti was a stay-at-home mom, enjoying being involved in every aspect of her daughters’ lives.  Then Preston started having complications from his life-long struggle with diabetes.

The short, sad version: they had eight more years together.  Years filled with pain, sickness, innumerable hospital stays, surgeries, five amputations, a kidney transplant, and more.  Preston was disabled, going through unimaginable pain.  Patti was now the breadwinner, spreading her time between work, spending a lot of time with Preston in the hospital, and caring for her children.

Yet, the amazing thing about Preston and Patti was their endless sense of humor. I can only imagine what it must have been like when they were alone and gave in to their feelings. But in front of their two little girls and the rest of the world, there was no complaining, no self-pity, nothing negative.  They used the serious tool of humor to deal with their impossible situation.

Preston was a cut-up.  Always witty, always ready with a sharp come-back or a funny joke.  And Patti was right there with him, making everybody around them feel more at ease because of their humor.  The worst situation could end with a laugh in the re-telling, because Preston and Patti could always find some humor in every situation.

Their attitudes were a testament of their faith in Jesus Christ.  They could easily have become bitter at the turn of events in their life.  They could have questioned or blamed God, as many do.  But instead they depended on His strength and grace for every day.  They chose to smile and look for humor in their lives.  Because of that, many people were blessed by their example, and God was glorified in their lives.

One person said, “I go by the hospital to cheer them up, and they end up making me feel better . . . always a joke and a laugh.”

The good medicine of laughter . . . the tool of humor to deal with their impossible situation . . . that, by the grace of God, is what kept them going through the darkest times, right up to the end of Preston’s life.  That’s what people still remember about Preston and still see in Patti.  What a beautiful testimony!

It makes me want to be that kind of child of God; one who lets God’s light shine through my dark circumstances to brighten other people’s lives.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

Laughter does good like a medicine …….

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