Posts Tagged ‘laughter’

With both parents in their late 70’s I have to admit that my anxiety level rises when the phone rings at an unexpected hour and it is from their number.  The other night that happened and I quickly picked up the receiver hoping everything was okay.  It was Mom and I could tell she was excited in a good way.

“You know Monday night is our bowling night.” she said.  “We’re on our way home just now, but I had to call.”

Relief is a beautiful thing and I reclined into it knowing that the call this time was going to be fun.  “So Mom, how did you do?”

“Well, I bowled a 212 and finished with a 500 series.”

“Wow, Mom, that’s incredible!”  By now we were both giggling like a couple of happy children.

I am convinced that our Heavenly Father loves it when His children laugh in pure, clean fun.  He created us with the senses to experience life and an amazing brain to process these things, so it seems only right that He enjoys it when we use them to experience joy.  Listening to my Mom giggle like a young girl again touched my heart and made me appreciate my parents anew.

It also reminded that our Lord’s love is not simply a theological dogma, but a practical, living, present reality that undergirds, overshadows, and fills all of life. It is there for all to experience, only a faith step away.

Have a blessed day today.  And be the blessing the Father created and equipped you to be.

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I’m convinced that laughter is the lubricant of life.  Being a Maintenance and Reliability Engineer I know a bit about lubricants.  Rotating equipment will only run a little while without the proper lubricant before friction will begin to generate heat, wear, and damage.  In a similar way disagreements and conflict will bring about heat, wear, and damage in our relationships.  Laughter, like a good lubricant, minimizes the friction caused when two persons come into close contact.

There are four primary considerations for a lubricant that ensure success.  The first is that the correct lubricant be selected.  The final three all relate to quality of the lube – clean, cool, and dry.  For simplicity sake I am going to talk about oil when referring to lubricant even though there are different types of lubricants other than oil.  Most people know that they need to have oil in their car’s engine so that imagery will work well in our illustration.

Let’s look at the first key trait.  The proper oil must be used to achieve the maximum life for your vehicle.  Viscosity is the term for the resistance to flow.  Think of honey and water.  Honey is much slower at flowing because it has a much higher viscosity than water.  If you live in northern climates you must use a lower viscosity oil because the oil must be able to continue to flow even when the temperatures are very low.  The same oil would not give the desired results in the tropics because it would be “too thin”.  With laughter there are different types as well.  The laughter of children happy and content, the good-natured ribbing between friends, the giggle of a young lady as she talks to a boy she likes, the deep belly laugh as we relive an embarrassing but humorous incident we encountered, the mature laughter of spouses as they recount the perils and pleasures of marriage… the list could go on.

While there are less desirable forms of laughter such as laughing at another person’s expense, there are so many positive benefits of appropriate laughter that is pays to cultivate a healthy sense of humor.  This brings me to the first of the quality traits – clean.  Since the purpose of a lubricant is to keep metal parts that are very close together from touching and creating friction it is important that there not be contaminants that bridge the gap between the parts.  Dirt consists of very small, but very hard particles.  Dirt in oil can easily fill the gap between parts and cause localized friction and damage in parts.  In this way the oil can actually carry damaging material into the places where it is not supposed to be which will actually perpetuate the damage.  This is why we have filters on our lube to remove the contaminants from the oil before it returns into the tight spaces between the metal parts.  In a similar manner I have seen and benefited from laughter that carries away pain, suffering, and stress bit by bit.  If laughter is the oil that sweeps in and carries away pain, suffering, and stress then a filter has to be present to actually capture this “contaminant”.  I have found God more than happy to help in this regard.  His filter is called forgiveness.  I have learned that when the laughter removes some of my pain and carries it through forgiveness it comes back without the sting.

The next trait of oil is that it be cool.  Friction generates heat.  Heat while a natural result of equipment performing its intended function is generally an enemy when it gets too high.  Almost all materials expand as they become hotter.  With very small spaces between parts, high heat can actually cause this small space to close up and friction and damage result.  Oil flowing in the small space actually picks up heat and carries it away.  In our relationships we often work in close quarters with others.  This can be in the office, on the shop floor, or in our marriage and family.  We will not always see everything eye-to-eye.  Stress and heat within relationships is a natural result.  Appropriate humor and laughter is crucial in carrying away this heat and enabling productive relationships to thrive.

The final quality trait of oil is that it be dry.  Now those who know me will immediately think of my attempts at humor that come up rather dry… that is not my point here.  We have already mentioned that oil’s primary function is to prevent metal to metal contact between moving parts.  The viscosity of oil gives it characteristics where it does not flow or get squeezed out of the small space between parts even if there is a good deal of pressure.  However water does not have this capability due to its extremely low viscosity.  It will immediately be displaced or squeezed out as it goes through the very tight space between moving parts.  This allows metal to metal contact and all the negative impacts that come from this.  The metaphor for water in relationships are the unkind, hurtful, or cutting things that are sometimes present.  These can wound quickly and if untended these wounds can fester into something much worse.  Laughter can reduce the pain at the point of impact and it can lessen the amount of injury sustained.  This is similar to an oil’s ability to hold moisture that might be present in solution so that it doesn’t form actual water droplets which can be devastating to an engine.  Laughter can help carry us through some of life’s hardest and most challenging of times without our being crushed.

Although I have seen many try to rely on laughter and a well-developed sense of humor alone to carry them through, this is not enough.  Honesty, courage, patience, the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23) are all essential elements in a well-rounded and fruitful life.  Laughter plays a vital role though.  Jesus Himself used humor that is captured in the scriptures more than once.  (I personally love the pun He used in giving Simon the name Peter, which means little rock or pebble and then Upon this Rock, meaning Himself, He would found the church.)  Living with 12 disciples… on-the-road…with minimal showers…with a Judas in the group…with the constant threat from the religious leaders and Roman rulers… Yes a little laughter was probably necessary and I suspect it was rather common.

Have a good chortle, chuckle, guffaw, or giggle today and remember, laughter is the lubricant of life.

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