Of all the pictures I have viewed by the great and near-great painters, I have never seen one painting that shows God or Jesus with a smile or even laughing. Yet, both of these deities in the mind’s eye must really express your wishes with even that thought. In fact, 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.” In fact, we should further consider that 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 because of excessive laughter. I earned many D grades in conduct because of laughing and making others laugh. My parents were very disturbed about the D in conduct but happy regarding my academic grades. I’m sure today, teachers would be very happy and smiling if they could see happy faces on children. I would also laugh in my Sunday School class, which my teachers didn’t appreciate.

During my practice of medicine, I have been able to get more folks well with laughter, which is contagious and healthy. Folks became more interested in the music that I was playing, rather than their illness. In fact, I think that medical students should be taught 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 went 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 thoughts from great people on laughter:

“You grow up the day you have the first real laugh at yourself.” Ethel Barrymore, American actress (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 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.” Charles “Charlie” Chaplin, English comic actor (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, American actor and comedian (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 taking care of patients in hospitals and teaching in schools and on the job. God is good all the time and smiles down on us.