Of all the pictures I have seen by the great and near-great painters, I have never seen one painting that shows God or Jesus laughing or even smiling. Yet both of these deities in your mind’s eye must really express your wishes with that thought. In fact, in the Old Testament, Proverbs 16:1 states, “We can make our plan, but the final outcome is in God’s hand. We should make plans-counting on God to direct us.” We should consider that the things we have planned carefully will only take place if it is God’s will to do so.

Speaking of laughter-when I was a kid, the only trouble I got into in school was due to excessive laughter. I earned many Ds in conduct due to laughing and making others laugh. My parents were very disturbed by the Ds, but happy regarding my academic grades. I’m sure that today, teachers would be very happy if they could see smiling faces on the children in their classrooms. I also laughed in my Sunday school class, which my teachers didn’t appreciate either.

During my practice of medicine, I have been able to get many folks well by laughing, which is contagious and healthy. Folks became more interested in the music that I was playing than in their illness. In fact, I think medical students should be taught how to put on a bright, shining face with a smile for their future patients. Laughter is contagious, healthy and healing.

As a youngster, when I visited Coney Island there was a ride that you could go on that took you through a laughing tunnel. When the ride ended, everyone was laughing-even those who were outside ready to board.

I would like to leave you today with some thoughts from great people on laughter:

  • “You grow up the day you have the first real laugh at yourself.”-Ethel Barrymore (1879-1950)
  • “I make myself laugh at everything, for fear of having to weep.”-Pierre Beaumarchais, French playwright (1732-1799)
  • “A laugh, to be joyous, must flow from a joyous heart, for kindness can be no true joy.”-Thomas Carlyle, Scottish essayist (1795-1881)
  • “The most utterly lost of all days is that in which you have not once laughed.”-Sebastien Chamfort, French author (1741-1794)
  • “He laughs best who laughs last.”-English proverb
  • “A hearty laugh gives one a dry cleaning, while a good cry is a wet wash.” Puzant Thomajan, American poet-(1902-1990)
  • “Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain.”-Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977)
  • “A good laugh is sunshine in a house.”-William Thackeray, English novelist (1811-1863)
  • “Maybe if we could all laugh alike, and laugh at the same time, this world of ours wouldn’t be able to find so many things to squabble about.”-Bob Hope (1903-2003)
  • “Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone, for the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, but has trouble enough of its own.”-Ella Wheeler Wilcox, American poet (1850-1919)

Finally, I am still carrying laughter into the care of patients in hospitals and teaching in schools and on the job. God is good all the time and smiles down on us.

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