Laughter Is The Best Medicine

There is a time for everything… a time to weep and a time to laugh.     Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4
FullSizeRender-2     My nine-year-old Mason is an old soul.  He says things that are so wise they stop me in my tracks.
     A while back, he was laughing at something that made absolutely no sense to me.  When I asked him about it, he said, “That’s the best part about being a kid.”  I thought he was referring to what he was laughing about, so I asked him to explain it to me.  His response was, “Laughing.  Kids laugh way more than grown-ups.  And it feels good.”  Then he paused for a moment and added, “To tell you the truth, grown-ups don’t laugh much.”
     His words hit me hard.  It felt like it wasn’t Mason talking: it was God talking to me through Mason, telling me that I’m taking it all too seriously.  Obviously I was the grown-up Mason was talking about, and I haven’t been laughing much lately.

     Some college friends organized an informal weekend reunion in the Berkshires last summer that I wasn’t able to attend due to health reasons.  I hadn’t seen some of those people in over twenty-five years.  So when they organized it again for this summer, I was bound and determined to go.
     From the minute I got into my friend’s car for the three hour drive there, it was like traveling backwards in time, stepping back into my college years.  The greatest care I had then was making it to an 8 a.m. class, or finding a coin operated washing machine that wasn’t busy.  I was young, healthy, energetic, and full of dreams.  I had a lightness of being that nothing, or no one, could weigh down.  I was silly and adventurous and ready for anything.
     Magically, I was that girl all weekend.  And the greater magic was how much I laughed: not just a “ha-ha” or a chuckle, but deep, bent over at the waist belly laughs (where I actually did pee just a little bit.  I’ve had three kids, after all!).  I laughed so hard and so much over the course of those forty-eight hours that I came home with a sore throat.
     It was the best sore throat that I have ever had!  It was my trophy: an affirmation that I do have a joyful heart, that I can still be so silly that I laugh until I can’t breath, until I scrape my throat raw.  Proverbs 17:22 says “A joyful heart is good medicine.”  That weekend was absolutely the best medicine for me.  I came home happier, lighter than I have been in a while.
     I’ve thought a lot about that weekend, and the shift that happened in me.  I’ve wondered why I had to escape my life in order to laugh that hard.  I truly do love my husband and kids, and I have never felt so fulfilled as I do as a mom.  Moreover, my husband and kids are actually very funny people.  I should be laughing that hard on a daily basis, in my own home, but I don’t.
     Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time for everything… a time to weep and a time to laugh.”  I think there’s also a time to be a mom, and a time to be just me.  I think that’s the point: we are not supposed to be swallowed whole by our vocation.  If I don’t take breaks, if I don’t step away and refill and refuel, I lose myself, become too heavy, weighted down by all the “to do’s” on my list and in my life.  Deep laughter only happens when I feel light.
     My kids are getting older; they’re becoming more independent.  It’s not as challenging now to get some space.  I need to remember my weekend away and the lesson that I learned.  If I can routinely create some space where I can refill and refuel, be just me and not a mom, I’ll be better able to maintain my joyful heart.  Once that happens, hopefully I’ll be belly laughing, on a regular basis, in my own home.
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2 thoughts on “Laughter Is The Best Medicine

  1. Wow, Mason!! What an insightful comment. I have been recently thinking to myself that I need to lighten up and smile more and just have fun with my kids instead of nagging and giving orders and cooking and cleaning. Today I did cannonballs in the pool and dove for divesticks. It felt great to just play and have fun. My kids actually thanked me for going into the pool with them. I need to do more of that. Mason’s comment is going to be permanently etched in my brain. Thanks, Mason! And thanks, Claire, for this post!

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