Of all the paintings I have viewed by great and near-great artists, I have never seen one that shows God or Jesus with a smile or laughing. Yet, we can imagine God laughing at our foolish notion that we can control everything and determine the outcome of every plan. 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 due to excessive laughter. I earned many “Ds” in conduct by laughing and making others laugh. (I also laughed a lot in my Sunday school class, which those teachers didn’t appreciate either.) My parents were dismayed by my conduct but happy regarding my academic grades. I’m sure today’s teachers would be very happy if they could see more smiling faces in their classrooms.
Laughter is healthy and contagious. As a youngster, when I visited Coney Island there was a ride that took you through a laughing tunnel. When the ride ended, everyone was laughing, even those who were outside ready to board.
In my medical practice, I have found that by laughing I could put my patients at ease and take their minds off their troubles. I believe that getting them to laugh helped promote their recovery. I think that medical students should be taught to always greet their patients with a smile.
I would like to share with you these quotes from great people on the subject of laughter:
You grow up the day you have the first real laugh at yourself.
Ethel Barrymore, actor
I make myself laugh at everything, for fear of having to weep.
Pierre Beaumarchais, French playwrite
A laugh to be joyous must flow from a joyous heart, for kindness can be no true joy.
Thomas Carlyle, Scottish essayist
The most utterly lost of all days is that which you have not once laughed.
Sebastien Chamfort, French author
He laughs best who laughs last.
A hearty laugh gives one a dry cleaning, while a good cry is a wet wash.
Puzant Thomajan, American poet
Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain.
Charlie Chaplin, actor
A good laugh is sunshine in a house.
William Thackeray, English novelist
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, entertainer
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
As for me, I still carry laughter into caring for patients, teaching students, and on the job. God is good all the time and smiles down on us.
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