There is so much truth in the saying, “Laughter is good medicine.”  It is a remedy too often overlooked, and one of our most natural stress relievers. The Bible calls laughter “a gift,” and it is certainly one of the most treasured gifts my mom gave us. She taught us to laugh. 

There is no professional degree or certification needed to bring this soothing balm to a hurting heart, yet my mom is quite an expert. I can recall beginning many phone calls crying over stress from work or home, but I knew, even in the most difficult circumstances, she would have me laughing by the end of our conversation. Even when I didn’t feel it was appropriate or fitting to be laughing, her giggling and laughter would eventually, and effectively, push out the looming dark clouds to make way for sunshine. 

My mom has always known the importance of laughter in difficulty, and she is not alone in this philosophy. Just before reading the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation during the first year of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln read a funny story aloud to his cabinet, but as he finished, he found no one laughing. He tried another one, but again, they sat silent. He then asked them, “Gentlemen, why do you not laugh? With the fearful strain that is upon me day and night, if I did not laugh, I should die.”

My mom’s (and President Lincoln’s) anecdote for stress is highly effective. Studies have shown the health benefits of laughter are endless. According to Mayo Clinic, it aids in breathing, stimulates your heart, boosts your immune system, clears your mind, improves your mood, and fights disease. My mom’s healing laughter has rescued me from despair countless times throughout the years. 

That is what my mom knew about laughter, even if she didn’t put it into words. Laughter combats fear and worry. It doesn’t replace the difficulty, but it shouts back in response that it holds no power over us. With everything going on in the world, this is a great time to laugh and bring the gift of laughter to others. There are many of us who need the reminder to laugh, and I’m glad my reminder is a phone call away.

The people in our lives that make us laugh are special people, and my mom is at the top of this list. Her gift of laughter is one I hope to pass on to my children, especially when it comes to facing difficulty. Thank you, Mom, for teaching us that there is always a time to laugh. You have brought smiles and joy to more people than you will ever know.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity,

    and she laughs without fear of the future.”

Proverbs 31:25 NLT

Mel Anderson