Some ‘Sick’ Humor

29 Apr

I think my friend Rhonda Rhea (1) has captured the award for “Sick” Humor. Her recent posts on Facebook made me LOL!

Rhonda wrote, “NyQuil and ice cream. Yeah, what could get a person over a cold faster than a NyQuil float?”

She also wrote, “Carpe Diem-e-tapp. Sneeze the Day!”

I’ve often heard people say that laughter is the best medicine. The Bible says something like that (Proverbs 17:22). A happy, cheerful heart is “good medicine,” healing the soul. It diffuses stress, exercises the heart and lungs, increases oxygen consumption, reduces carbon dioxide in the lungs, relaxes muscles, and blesses the body in many other ways.

I read a story about a “humor cart” at Lutheran General Children’s Hospital (Park Ridge, Chicago area) that helps sick children laugh. (2)

Wearing a set of bobbing antennae, a retired teacher, Cathy Risberg, pushes the cart laden with toys, coloring books and other silly trinkets, but it’s the jokes that make the children smile and giggle… silly jokes that children love, like this one:

“Why did the boy throw the butter out the window?”

“I don’t know.”

“So he could see a butterfly!”

Melodie Merrick, clinical manager of pediatrics at the hospital said, “Laughter releases endorphins, and that helps us feel better and heal. It decreases anxiety and can mean less pain medicine. It takes a kid away from a fear of the hospital, and that’s important to building a trusting relationship.”

Because the Bible says there is “a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4), we can look for opportunities God gives us. Laughter is coupled to joy ~ especially joy when we observe God’s creative works ~ in Psalm 126:2-3.

I have to admit that hearty laughter has pulled me through many stressful seasons of life. And I’m in good company. I read that Abraham Lincoln said he could only handle the stresses of the Civil War by cultivating lightness of heart: “If it hadn’t been for laughter,” he said, “I could not have made it.” Likewise, comedians often say they learned to cope with their problem childhoods by cultivating a sense of humor and helping others laugh more, too.

A Jewish proverb says, “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” Yes, I’ve washed away many gloomy days with a good scrubbing of clean humor, especially since I started cultivating a LOL heart.

The story about the hospital’s “humor cart” was sweet, but it was Risberg’s final statement that arrested my attention.Smile Note

“Most of (the children) can smile,” she said, “and those who can’t, I make sure I’m smiling at them.”

Ah… the power of a smile.  I thought about all the people ~ and not only children ~ that I encountered just this past week. So many of them were sad, depressed, frustrated, lonely. No smiles there.

But God allowed me to give them a great gift. I could share my smile with them. And sometimes I could add a word of encouragement, a silly joke, or a few moments to pray together. (I have this note near my desk.)

Yes, laughter is the best medicine, but a shared smile is a quick shot in the arm!

(1) Wants some laughs along with wisdom? Read How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change A Person?: Bright Ideas for Delightful Transformation by Rhonda Rhea (New Hope Publishers, 2012)

(2) http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2013617033_weblaugh10.html

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