The Blessing of Laughter
By Stephanie Gretchen Burgevin. Stephanie is a writer and retreat leader. She is an associate faculty member of Shalem and a graduate of their Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Program and leads spiritual and secular programs. Stephanie manages Shalem’s blog. You can see more of her writing at blessedjourneyblog.com.
My daughter graduated from college last month. She is home for a few weeks before she moves across the country for her new job (!). My son and I were sitting in her room with her while last night as she went through her stuff, deciding what to keep, to give away, and to take with her. While going through the different items she came upon her old diaries. The three of us were in stitches listening to her middle school angst, her passionate monologues on crushes, and her vitriolic picture of a teacher.
The next morning we talked about how delicious it is to be able to laugh at one’s self, to look back and realize how ridiculous and melodramatic we can be at times. We don’t have to just take the long view of years past. I can look back at 10 minutes ago and laugh at how childish I was.
Somehow, laughing at myself allows me to remember the humanness, the beautiful imperfection that dwells in all of us. For me it is so much easier to break that pattern, to shift my behavior if I’m not on my high horse, but down in the mud with the evidence of my folly all over.
Also, laughter is so healing. There is actually medical humor or laugh therapy. Cancercenter.com says, “Studies have revealed that episodes of laughter helped to reduce pain, decrease stress-related hormones and boost the immune system in participants.”
Laughter, another gift we are blessedly born with, and one that should be used often. May you laugh long and often!