Laughable memories and medicine

Teeth brushed, PJs on, scriptures read, bathroom visited, prayers said … and yet all I hear are games. The “hold your breath because the carpet is water” kind of games; the “how fast can you run and touch the wall?” games; the rowdy “rock-paper-scissors, not it!” games. Oh, and laughter. Lots of laughter. It’s way past bedtime, and I’m going to pay for this tomorrow morning when the kiddos crawl out cranky … and yet I just let it go on … for quite a while … until I say (with exasperation), “Is this what, ‘time for bed’ looks like?”

The answer? “Mom, we had to get our memories. Our memories!” he says, with emphasis and in a voice that sounds a touch younger than he really is. His brown round eyes shine pure, as he stands in pirate underpants … and melts me. They had to get their memories. Like, if they didn’t get them right then and there, they’d miss the chance.

get memories

Isn’t that so, though? You have to go get ‘em!  It doesn’t take dramatic bucket lists or the grand splendor of a dreamy vacation – memories can come in the every night ritual of bedtime, and the everyday details within motherhood … And what better way to get those memories then through childlike, energetic and laughing eyes!?

Did you know that on average, children laugh 400 times a day, while adults laugh only about 15 times?! Studies show that humor reduces stress, fear, anger and embarrassment. It also contains spectacular healing powers. Laughter actually lowers blood pressure, heart rate and increases respiration. Not to mention, humor helps us keep perspective and make happy memories.

The Bible tells us, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).

Laughing sisters square

One of my resolutions this year is to laugh more. To laugh when I want to cry and to laugh until I cry … both would be great. See, I don’t think of myself as a natural laugher. I adore laughter – especially the deep hearty kind that blurts out from the bottom of the belly and bellows. I love when laughter ricochets off walls and right into hearts.  My laughter doesn’t come out quite like that. Mine shakes in my shoulders silently.  My laughter usually lacks sound – maybe it lacks depth too. I probably need to let it permeate further.

Just thinking about my silent shakes makes me giggle through my nose a bit … and I guess that’s what I’m aiming for, a little giggle through the nose that grows. I’m aiming for the kind of humor that heals hearts and perspective; that lightens loads and unites families.

Laughter with dog_Small

While my dad has been ill, our emotions have been extreme and our minds and bodies have become exhausted … and yet there have been brief moments of laughter. Humor has helped us survive the hurt. Mom and I will simply look at each other and start to giggle – it feels good. It’s not like we’re rolling on the floor, but every now and then a situation will tickle us in just the right way. I think those are tender mercy moments, designed to encourage deep breaths, eternal sight and sincere smiles for our souls. They are memories I’ll hold to, and memories I’ll make more of.

May your memories be filled with laughter too!

Now, go get ‘em!
Your turn: Will you please share what helps you laugh in the hard times? This is an area I am consciously working on – and I will appreciate any tips and tricks you can share with me!!! Thank you in advance!

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Showing 11 comments
  • Jessica

    Beautifully written Jess. This is an area I will work on as well.

  • Nancy Crum

    Anytime I need a good laugh I turn the music up really loud and have a dance party. Then when we are exhausted with that I turn it off and it is time for tickles. Thanks for the reminder to have more joy in life.

    • JesPoe

      Great idea! We love a good living room dance party! 🙂

  • Shar

    LOVE this post, Jes! I can’t say enough about humor, which is okay because you’ve said it all so beautifully. Having lived through times lacking any humor to speak of as well as times filled with immense humor, I can say without a doubt that I need humor in my life. Daily, if I’m so lucky, but of course that isn’t always the case; still, I aim to stay open to it, in all it’s wild and unexpected forms. Let’s continue working on it together–humor, memories, perspective. They all ride alongside one another. Love you!

    • JesPoe

      Agree!! I’m trying to take account all the times we laugh now. Here’s the highlight from today: We laughed hard because I haven’t done laundry in so long that I’m out of undies … wore a hideous pair today that probably were worn when I was prego. They bunched up above my pants and around my belly button total granny style. (TMI?) We were cracking up silently in the hospital room (as to not wake Dad) … and it still makes me laugh right now. Praise to my hubby who had laundry done when I got home! And I really think I’m going to shower tomorrow! Ha! Love you SO much, Shar!

  • Reply

    I think I’m going to make this my goal this year too. I don’t consider myself a natural laugher either, especially when life is rough. I like the idea of choosing to find JOYOUS moments along the bumpy road of life. I’m interested to see how your goal goes and what tips you find help you.

    I was trying to think what works for me – I think I laugh most when I take time out to visit with family and friends, when I take time to goof off with the kids (like literally do weird faces or dance moves or silly voices or something – their laughter is contagious and instantly brightens my outlook), chatting on the phone. There are also the little things – like jokes, or memes, or videos people post on Facebook that also make me laugh too. I know there are things that bring me joy and make me laugh – I just need to watch for them I guess.

    • JesPoe

      Love your ideas (and that you’re the best sister-in-law ever. ha!)! I have been more consciously counting up the kids’ laughter – and they seriously laugh all the time! I’ve also noticed that I do giggle now and then … but surely need an improvement. It’s tough when the overall situation isn’t funny – but there are moments … and there will be more as we look for them. 🙂 Thank you!

  • Spencer Smith

    Jessica, I am glad I know you. Your post is refreshing and a great reminder that life is not too hard to laugh often. Thanks again!

    • JesPoe

      Spencer!! Thank you, and I’m glad I know you too! 🙂 Take care, friend.

  • Hilarie Robison

    Thank you for this beautiful, tender post! I’m not great with humor or laughter, either, but tickling my kiddos and hearing their joyous squeals and giggles is a sure way to bring on my smiles and laughs.

    On a much less profound note, the movie Knight and Day cracks me up!! It’s the only movie that makes me laugh out loud! 🙂

    • JesPoe

      Thank you, Hilarie! Love your thoughts and I will look up that movie – haven’t heard of it before. 🙂

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