“Wherever there’s laughter, there’s heaven.” Madeleine L’Engle from A Ring of Endless Light: The Austin Family Chronicles
L’Engle likely wouldn’t have convinced me about laughter’s holiness except I heard my grandchildren. When their giggles come all the way up from their bellies, it’s heavenly to hear and healing and contagious – a good kind of catching it.
On the site Wikipedia, one of the subtitles under journalist Norman Cousins’ name reads “Illness, laugh therapy, and recovery.” Cousins healed himself of an illness that doctors said he had a one in 500 chance of recovering from. He developed his own recovery program that consisted of large doses of vitamin C and laughter. He watched Candid Camera and a variety of comic movies.
“I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep,” Cousins reported.
In his overview of Ecclesiastes at Insight for Living Ministries, Chuck Swindoll said this about King Solomon thought to be the book’s author, “Nothing made sense to him because he had already tried any number of remedies – pleasure, work, and intellect – to alleviate his sense of feeling lost in the world.”
Since trying hard didn’t work, King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 8:15 (NLT), “So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.”
I’m taking liberties here, but I think the king sounded more frustrated than fun loving. Or maybe I’m projecting my own doubtful attitude onto him because lightening up and laughter seemed negligent in the midst of difficulties. I had neither the time nor energy for fun until I figured out how to manage and fix my life and the lives of my family.
I read between King Solomon’s lines and heard, “We just as well have fun since nothing we try hard at matters at all.”
Like him, until I failed miserably at trying hard and also had fun with my family in spite of myself, I failed to recognize the heavenizing power of laughter – on earth as it is in heaven (from the Lord’s Prayer).
In This Together,
FYI: I’m blogging my book titled On The Other Side of Trying Hard: Healing, Happiness, and Holiness. Because the blog posts will eventually be an entire manuscript instead of stand-alone stories, some posts may leave you hanging. I hope you’ll hang in here with us anyway ‘cause a happy ending is coming. Each blog post title includes the chapter title first. The phrase in parentheses is one subheading within the chapter. I’d love to hear your reflections, questions, and suggestions. I’m over-the-top grateful you’re here.