Laughing Through the Pain: The Best Medicine When You Can Get It.

After getting through my first physical therapy session for my shoulder the other day, I called my sister Katie to tell her the “good” news.

“I went to therapy today,” I said.

“It’s about time you got your head examined,” was the only sympathy I got.

“Not THAT kind of therapy, you twit. PHYSICAL therapy.”

“I knew that,” she said.

As I went on to explain about the PT’s at Rehab 2000 in Oneonta, Alabama, I told sis they not only got our jokes (Mike and me), they actually laughed at them and lobbed some good ones right back at us. This therapeutic comedy duo consists of a gorgeous bride (Julie) of little over a year, and her tall husband (Rick Sanders), whom a patient had dubbed “The Torture Master” (true story),

By the time I got through the routine where I had to bend over and swing my arm around, I had named the exercise “The Monkey Thing”, at which time the Torture Master told his wife (the one who runs things) to put me in the very back chamber for my next appointment — away from the sane patients, I suppose. From the beginning I was laughing through the pain and almost didn’t mind paying for the privilege.

Proverbs 17:22 tells us laughter is the best medicine. But you can’t always get it. No pharmacy carries it on their shelves. But I have known a pharmacist or two who dispensed it free of charge from behind the counter.

Mike and I have used that medicine through a lot of years of every imaginable kind of pain — emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical. And, like a boxer in the ring, we have taken too many hard punches to the head, gut, and heart. It takes a toll. Because of years of practically living in that ring, we’re both worn out and worn down. When I recently heard about an entertainer who was “heroic” for keeping her chin up through an entire “week” of terrible setbacks, I could only shake my head.

I recently wrote a review on the classic novel “Scaramouche” by Raphael Sabatini, whose first line reads, “He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad”. And I had to stop and thank God for that “gift” in a few of those around me. My sister makes me laugh. My husband makes me laugh. I make them laugh. And every once in a while we come across people like Rick and Julie who know the value of laughter. And when this commodity is dispensed among us, it keeps us sane.

The Bible is not without its humor. I still laugh every time I read about Jesus and his disciples walking among a packed crowd when someone touched the hem of his garment. All of a sudden he stops and says, “Who touched me?” The disciples look at him askance and reply, “You see all this crowd and you say, who touched me?” (In our day and time the next line would be “you’ve GOT to be kidding me”). I can imagine a cocked eyebrow on one or two apostolic faces, and it cracks me up. It makes them human. No, I do not overlook the seriousness of this passage, but that little snapshot of down-to-earth saints is priceless.

I taught our women’s Sunday school for several years, and when our small church had to close its doors recently, we had become so close we mourned the loss of our weekly time of learning and fellowship in our worship of the Lord. We had laughed together, cried together, shared our joys, sorrows, and fears together. But the laughter was God’s gift that helped us over mountains.

One lady in our class was having insurmountable family and health problems (which was the case with most all of us there). But she always brought with her an aura of lightness and humor and an appetite for life. While discussing “TRUTH” one Sunday, she bemoaned her loss of memory (which did slip quite a bit). But she brought down the house when she said — “My memory has gotten so bad I don’t know if I’m lying or not.” 

For some reason God had led Mike and me to the one church where there were others who were being pummeled in the boxing ring of life. And they weren’t ashamed, or too proud, to admit it. But best of all, they could still laugh through the pain. Laughter is the one medicine that must be shared to be potent.

Meanwhile, back at physical therapy, there is this huge banner on the wall with the legend: “God has a rock for every giant”. I had to stare at that banner for a while and knew that in my heart of hearts I felt like I had been stepped on by that giant. But as the session ended, I realized that God had brought laughter to this place of pain — healing pain — and laughter enough to slay the giants. They also have T-shirts with the giant legend on them. I’m getting me a T-shirt.


5 thoughts on “Laughing Through the Pain: The Best Medicine When You Can Get It.

  1. What a wonderful post. This is priceless: “My memory has gotten so bad I don’t know if I’m lying or not.” LOL, great line and I may steal it. :>)

    As you may have noticed by now, I’m a bit of a cock-eyed optimistic. Hubby calls me an “unrelenting optimist.” It’s true. Almost nothing gets me down and I’m a glass half-full kind of person. I think this is one reason I have always enjoyed visiting people who are ill or hospitalized. I like the challenge of taking their minds off their troubles and making them laugh. It nearly always works. Reader’s Digest got it right when they named their joke page “Laughter Is the Best Medicine.” And as you said, it must be shared to be potent.

    VERY cute cartoon as the top of the page.

    • I sent a long reply to this that hasn’t shown up. And we cut and pasted it to make sure it didn’t “get lost”. Now I can’t remember what I said, Oh, the joys of technology.

      I love the fact that you’re an unmitigated optimist. The world needs more. Especially around hospitals. I love this little joke about optimists. — An optimist fell 10 stories. At each storey he would yell out, “All right so far!”

      • I find it very discouraging to write long, thoughtful comments if they are going to regularly disappear. Makes me feel a bit like, “why bother?” I don’t think “technology” is to blame….Word Press is. This NEVER happens elsewhere.


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