by Jeri Darby
Walking to my car while leaving the library I turned my head abruptly and gave the young woman I had just passed a double take. Her frame jiggled in laughter. It was glorious. She looked fully present and fully alive and in the moment. This image lingered in my head. How I craved the healing properties of laughter to manifest in me once again.
Life kept volleying in and out of despair the past few weeks. Genuine laughter seemed as unlikely as looking down and discovering a million dollars. It seemed foreign like an activity practiced by aliens from a distant planet. Or something read about, dreamt about or perhaps seen in a Sci-fi flick. Trying not to stare I wondered, “God, will I ever laugh again- like that? Nah, it will never happen, I concluded.
Not real laughter, the kind that causes your body to tremble while gushing from deep within. Then erupting from your mouth until your face contorts into weird expressions. Laughter. The kind that pierces the air and spread joy like a contagious virus, how I missed it! Someone said, ““The difference between an optimist and a pessimist? An optimist laughs to forget, but a pessimist forgets to laugh.”
Blinded by desperation I could not see beyond my present disasters and emotional stagnation. One day my son and his girlfriend (now wife) took me out for dinner and a movie. While chatting, I attempted to describe a scene in a comedy I had recently viewed. It happened! A full-blown manifestation of outrageous laughter! I couldn’t finish the story. “Ha- ha- ha!” And more, “Ha- ha- ha-ha!” And more, “Ha- ha- ha-ha!” The gift of laughter, it wouldn’t stop!
“I don’t think that we are going to hear the conclusion of this story!” His friend giggled while waiting for me to regroup and deliver the punch line.
“This is just like the woman at the library,” I thought. My heart lightened, my mind cleared, and the darkness engulfing me scattered.
God maneuvered me through this difficult season and on the other side I became reacquainted with laughter.
Laughter has healing properties. It temporarily speeds the heart rhythm and improves circulation. It leaves an afterglow on the faces of participants. It increases the body’s calorie consumption and much more! Proverbs 17:22 NIV says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Who knows what healings would manifest if we would just indulge with hefty doses of God’s medicine— laughter? Has the practice of laughter been absent in your life? Pray and ask God to restore this precious gift unto you today—He will.
Jeri Darby is an author speaker and songwriter. Jeri teaches on Facebook Live at Jeri Darby Mondays at 2PM EST. Follow this link to visit her online store to order books or CDs.