Altar Call - Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

January 6, 2018


Laughter is good medicine for the family


Nothing improves damaged relationships like a good dose of forgiveness. And forgiveness can “happen” informally. It can occur when people laugh together during Christmas holidays. Maybe that’s why our family members seem to laugh together more at Christmas than at any time of the year.          

Laughter is good medicine. It can take the sting out of hurt feelings. It can help us toss aside lingering resentments and move on. Our family has had its share of brokenness but over the years we have learned it is not healthy to “stay mad forever” about the way someone slighted. Our “wounds” only get worse the longer we drag them into the future.   

People can easily sense how you feel about them. So we can facilitate reconciliation by “loosening up” and becoming more affable. To respond to someone with warmth and gentleness can signal your willingness to bury the hatchet. Quiet healing can occur when one offers another forgiveness wrapped in kindness. It is not always necessary for the past event to be rehearsed and hashed over again.

Reconciliation may elude those who insist on a showdown at the O.K. Corral. If the offended one will let bygones be bygones only if the offender openly admits having been wrong, healing may a long time coming. That stubborn attitude fails to acknowledge that both parties were at fault. Seldom is it the case that one party is totally responsible for a ruptured relationship. 

          Grandparents see things differently from the young. Young people think life will never end; seniors realize that time is running out. Since “wisdom comes with age,” seniors usually realize the futility of being at odds with family members and friends. Life is short and time is wasted by withholding affection until someone else wises up. In the long run nothing is gained by insisting that someone else was offensive and needs to say “I was wrong.” 

          Truth is, we are all “wrong” at times. None of us is an angel. We all say things we should not have said. Our struggles with life’s issues can deplete our supply of kindness and patience. So if you are prone to think you are always right, you need to come down off your high horse and admit you are a flawed human being like the rest of us. But don’t bawl and howl about it. Laugh about it! Laugh with others about it! Laughing together about our common frailty can help us accept and affirm one another. The bottom line is that we need each other and laughing together can help us come together in loving acceptance.

          I am not sure why we are more understanding and forgiving at Christmastime than at any other time. Perhaps it is because of the birth of a child in Bethlehem. When God came down at Christmas as a little baby, he was saying to all of us: “Even though you are sinners, one and all, I love you anyway and I am sending my son to show you how much I love you.” 

          Accepting the love of that baby, that Son, that Savior, changes us. He makes us able to offer one another “anyhow love” without any strings. I witness that happening every Christmas while a baby is spitting up on mama’s shoulder and the older children are running through the house like Indians on the warpath. Despite all this the adults are telling stories and laughing together. While the children are being children, grownups are saying “I love you anyway” without speaking the words. Laughing together is the track on which that train runs!

The preacher in me wants to get spiritual and invite everyone to sing, “Bind us together, Lord, bind us together with cords of love that cannot be broken.” But I hear the Lord whispering to me, “Relax preacher; laughter is good medicine and I am using it to bless your family. Laughing together will help them affirm their humanity and strengthen the ties that bind them together – to you and to me.”

All I can manage to say, as tears flood my eyes, is “Thank you Lord.”  + + +