The Power of a Laugh


When I was two, I realized I could make people laugh by walking around with my soother stuck in my ear. Ever since I’ve been hooked on laughter. The highest compliment you can pay me is to laugh at a joke, and if you fall off your chair, I may pay your medical bill.

As I exited diapers and entered school, I was grateful that my classmates found me funny. But horrified to discover that teachers didn’t share my passion for humour. They had me stand in corners staring at pencil sharpeners. And stay after class writing things on the chalkboard like: “I will not put frogs in Marylou’s lunch bag.” They said, “What’s so funny? Wipe that grin off your face. Take that carrot out of your nose. You’ll never earn a living this way.”

They were wrong. It wasn’t easy at first. I had to earn money to buy food, because my children wouldn’t eat anything else. So I started to write. And before long people started to call. “Come make us laugh,” they said.

I was speaking at an event when Devin told me his story. He was driving alone when the infuriated driver of a pickup sped past, screaming profanities at a young woman driving a black car. Devin turned into a gas station. The pickup driver pulled up and began kicking the black car. Devin stepped bravely between the lady and the violent man. That’s the last thing he would remember for more than a year.

His Good Samaritan act resulted in head trauma, amnesia, and a host of disorders including PTSD. “Apart from God, laughter became my deepest friend,” he later wrote in a letter to me. “I turned to your books. It was a challenge to read, but knowing I would receive a laugh pushed me on to read a sentence, then a paragraph, and months after the incident I was finally able to read—and laugh—at the same time. It develops the mind, heart, and soul in ways no other medication can. I have come to realize afresh the power a joy-filled spirit possesses. I am not who I was prior to this incident, but my amazing spouse who stuck with me says I am actually better. I love the verse, ‘The joy of the Lord is my strength.’ Even in this, I am experiencing hope that comes from my faith in Jesus, the one who knows what it is to suffer. Thanks for helping me laugh.”

If, like Devin, you are facing hardship today, I pray you’ll experience the peace of God and, like Devin, remember there’s hope ahead. That’s a good reason to laugh again.

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