Blessings of Laughter
Laughter is a holy thing. It is as sacred as music and silence and solemnity, maybe even more sacred. Laughter is like a prayer, like a bridge over which creatures tiptoe to meet each other. Laughter is like mercy; it heals. When you can laugh at yourself, you are free.
– Reverend Ted Loder,
activist and minister
A little laughter
Scientists and psychologists have spent years trying to understand laughter. Yet there’s probably nothing that can generate a snooze faster than long essays trying to explain why a pie in the face, or a baby’s laugh, can set the whole world laughing.
The real key to laughter is to grab it and enjoy it. Novelist Stephen King writes that “you can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.”
Sadly, for most of us getting older means leaving much of the laughter behind. On average a child laughs around 300 times a day. The average adult clocks in at about 15 times a day. Where did all those other laughs go? The fact is, the more of our childhood we can bring into maturity, the healthier and happier we will be. Maturity isn’t growing out of childhood, but taking it with us.
Author and humorist Bob Lockwood writes in A Guy’s Guide to the Good Life: Virtues for Men about driving home one evening “in an after-work-on-Tuesday kind of mood, when the new week has lost its novelty and Friday is nothing but a dim hope.” Switching stations on the car radio, he came across the old Beatles 1964 release of Twist and Shout, and he suddenly became a 15-year-old boy again as he remembered a summer dance where that song was playing.
“Fifteen seconds into it and all the kids had stopped dancing and were singing the song at the top of their lungs,” he recalls. “When it was over, everybody laughed and clapped.” Sitting in his car, this “overweight guy with gray hair and a bald spot in back was belting out the song, though he started coughing before he could get to the chorus. But he still laughed when it was over.”
Laughter is natural; laughter is a blessing. A lifetime filled with laughter is the way we are made to be. We just have to know – or remember – how to find it.