“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. . . The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” – Psalm 126:2,3
Army basic training, for those of us who have experienced it, is hardly a laughing matter . . . that is, unless you happen to have a guy like Al Williams constantly by your side like I did. For eight weeks the two of us – alphabetically, Williams and Wilson – stood side-by-side in formation, bunked next to each other in the barracks, and were training partners much of the time. Al with his hilarious sense of humor kept me in stitches, making my boot camp a barrel of laughs instead of the grueling experience it could have been. The most difficult thing I had to endure was keeping a straight face so I wouldn’t get yelled at for inappropriately busting out laughing over something he had just said.
For as long as I can remember Reader’s Digest magazine has included a joke section called “Laughter, the Best Medicine”. I firmly believe that to be the case and have tried to live my life accordingly. Every single morning at the breakfast table Tee and I start the day by reading comic section in the daily newspaper. And usually in the evenings we end the day by reading aloud a few jokes from Garrison Keillor’s Pretty Good Joke Book which I keep on my bedside table. Laughter is indeed great medicine.
Like basic training, life as we all know is hardly a laughing matter . . . that is, unless you can see the humor in it. Humor, though, is not about being less serious about life; rather it helps keep life and our role in it in perspective. Though my army buddy and I may have laughed our way through boot camp we took the training very seriously.
Humor and laughter are gifts from God, comical versions of our human failings, reminding us that only God is perfect and we are not. But God has a great ability to restore us from our imperfections, and when that occurs as the Psalmist reminds us, “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. . . The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Life is hardly a laughing matter . . . that is, unless you happen to have God constantly by your side like Al Williams was to me in boot camp, making it a barrel of laughs instead of the grueling experience it could be.