Who said, “If you’re not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there”? It wasn’t a comedian. It was Martin Luther. Even though he was known as a serious thinker and speaker, he also was known to have a great sense of humor.
Having recently gone through a time of grieving, it has been difficult believing that God and Jesus may be sitting at a meal in heaven laughing with the angels over things. But where are we to believe humor originated if not with the creator of all things? I mean, if God didn’t have a sense of humor, why would we? And if you need proof of his sense of humor, look at some of the humorous looking creatures he’s created.
Most of us, if we’re honest, like humor and what it does for us mentally and physically. It is known to relax our minds as well as create in us better health. There are many articles on the subject of how laughter is a great medicine for the mind and body. It is a very strong medicine, which creates terrific side effects.
I don’t even need to read scientific or medical articles in order to believe that humor is able to do great things for the body and mind. All I have to do is allow my mind to hear the echoes of the humor my granddad, a couple of step-uncles and some dear old friends used when we shared our lives prior to dealing with so much drama in adulthood. These stories from family and friends, if I pause long enough to recall, can help me at least smile at times. And recalling some of them allows me to share humor with the readers of my column.
So do we need to look for more opportunities for humor and laughter? It could improve not only our emotional and physical health, but also strengthen relationships as we look to add more happiness to our lives, which might also add more years to our lives.
Because of some long-term situations that seem to come back to haunt us now and again, we keep looking for ways to stay grounded and not fly off the handle at someone who can’t seem to let the past remain in the past and move forward. At such times, we need to remind ourselves that laughter can be an option — an antidote — to stress, pain and conflict.
What I’m saying is that finding humor cannot only help keep you grounded, but also focused and more capable of dealing with anger and forgiveness. Best of all, this priceless medicine — no insurance company involved — is fun, free and easy to use. It can be used when you get up in the morning, before, during or after meals, and even before saying good night.
Laughter not only is relaxing, but it can boost your immune system, trigger the release of endorphins (the body’s natural feel-good chemicals), protect the heart physically and emotionally and even burn calories, which all helps us live a longer and happier life.
And so what I’m working with at the moment is reminding myself that nothing can diffuse conflict faster than a shared laugh — hopefully at myself. If I am able to look at the funny side of things, I just might be able to put problems into perspective and enable myself to move on from confrontation without holding bitterness and resentment.
I would also like to use a biblical reference in helping to make my case for our need to laugh more. In Luke 6:21 and 23, it says “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh ... Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven.”
What these verses say to me is that part of our reward for making it to heaven will be more laughter. Why wouldn’t there be? There’s not going to be any more sickness, death, loss or grieving. All tears will be wiped away, our hearts filled with joy and our mouths with laughter!
By the way, didn’t C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia” show laughter in heaven when his characters attended the Great Reunion on the New Narnia?
The promise of Jesus that we will be leaping for joy and laughing in the new world echoes in my mind as I now try to daily experience more joy and laughter in my life.