Laughter has helped me cope in difficult situations all my life. God has given me a quirky sense of humor and a mind that often travels to a funny thought, memory, or story.
Like the time my son, Ben, called to say he was dropping by our house on his way to work. He said his ETA was about fifteen minutes. I was working and not paying much attention to the time so when the doorbell rang, I naturally assumed it was him standing there with his ten month old son.
In an effort to sprinkle a little joy and evoke a little laugh, I swung the door open wide and in typical me fashion gave a more-cheerful-than-usual and quite enthusiastic greeting.
“Come on in, you sweet thing!”
Oddly, there was no response, so I tried again.
With even greater fanfare than before I went on, “Well what are you waiting for, Handsome? Come on in.”
Still nothing. That’s when I realized this person was not Ben at all. Instead, standing there before me was a UPS driver who was making a delivery.
Mortified, I blubbered, “I’m so sorry. I was expecting someone else. Er, ah, I mean, my son is stopping by and I thought you were him.”
He stood quietly while I rambled on, "You see, I don’t see well so I didn’t actually see who was standing in the doorway.”
I could hear his amusement as he said, “That’s ok. No worries.”
He showed me where to sign while I kept talking, “I bet you thought I was crazy or something.”
“No, I just thought you were real, REAL friendly.”
He turned to leave and then looked back and laughed lightly, “Besides, I was kinda flattered you called me handsome, that is until, I realized you can’t actually see me.”
I carried the package inside, laughing all the while. A few minutes later when Ben finally arrived, I told him what happened and we laughed again.
Sometimes life is so hard we really do have to laugh to keep from crying, laugh to keep on keeping on, and laugh because it just feels good to laugh. One of my friends makes it a practice to watch something funny on her iPad every night before she goes to bed. She says it gives her a better night’s sleep and gives her something to smile about the next morning.
I think it pleases God when we throw cares aside and toss our heads back to laugh. And, I am certain it confounds the devil when we find joy despite pain and suffering.
While suffering and lightheartedness don’t seem to go together, I’ve found that when I live with a deep recognition that God is on the throne, completely in control, I can laugh hard, laugh often and laugh out loud.
The writer of Ecclesiastes says there is a time to laugh and a time to cry. The Psalmist says that weeping lasts for a night but joy comes in the morning. He also encourages us to bring a gift of laughter to the Lord. It’s ok to cry; but today, why not give yourself or someone else the gift of laughter. It’ll make you feel better and it will keep the devil wondering how you can be lighthearted despite his best efforts.