2018-06-08 / Chaplain's News

Laughter makes the worst days bearable

Chaplain (Capt.) Sasa Azande
202nd Military Intelligence Battalion

My service in the military has given me plenty of cause for laughter – mostly at myself. First there was the time that my recruiter told me that I had to enlist to be a chaplain. How does the cadence go, “My recruiter…?” Family life allows even more of an opportunity to laugh and gain perspective.

In regards to laughter, or the lack thereof, Rick Warren, theologian and author of The Purpose Driven Life, wrote: “We take ourselves way too seriously, and we don’t take God seriously enough. It is not by accident that humor and humility come from the same root word. If you can laugh at yourself, you’ll always have plenty of good material.”

Yes. I have had many opportunities for laughter.

I will never forget the day that I was awoken by, “I missed the bus. Can you give me a ride to school?”

I groggily but dutifully jumped out of bed. Intent on not disturbing my sleep state, I told my daughter to start the car. I grabbed my purse and off we went.

There was no need to remove the night cap or pajamas. I was coming right back home.

After the “goodbyes” and “have a good day,” I was already imagining myself back to rest. Ahhhhhhh. Late calls only come once in a blue moon.

As soon as I parked the car in the driveway and reached for the key, I was mortified. My daughter grabbed the key that has no house key on it!

I was locked out of the house in my pajamas and a doo rag. What to do? There was no backup plan. No relatives nearby. No spare key hidden under the proverbial rock.

I had no choice but to go back to her school and get her house key. There was no other way.

The school parking lot was full. The nearest parking space was what seemed like a mile away. There I went. Walking. In my pajamas and a doo rag – all the way – from the car to the school door.

Each step magnified my experience of sheer horror. You G.O.T. fans out there will understand this – Cersei Lannister’s walk of shame had nothing on mine.

All of the sudden, out of nowhere – a laugh erupted. No, not the audience of high school onlookers (there were many), but my own.

I realized how ridiculous it all was including my sense of dread – and especially my doo rag. I couldn’t stop laughing. And did not stop for the rest of the day.

Laughter turns our gaze away from the inward sense of dread to a higher perspective. Laughter can make even the worst day – somehow bearable.

For some, such as those who practice Laughter Yoga, the art of a good laugh has even come to be a spiritual practice. The interrelation of laughter to sound mental, physical, and spiritual health has even been recognized by major health care and cancer treatment facilities across the country where Laughter Therapy is one of many diverse approaches to achieve wellness.

In the Hebrew Scriptures, Proverbs 15:15 reminds us, “For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” (NLT)

What has you laughing today?

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