OUT TO PASTOR: The merry heart doeth good

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With all the sad news in our country today, it is about time for some good news. However, the way things are going I am not going to hold my breath.

We just finished supper and the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I was watching a little bit of television. We like to try to catch up on the news after a day of working.

I well remember the time when the “world news” was only broadcast for 30 minutes, which was broken up by commercials. It is hard to get all the news that is worth hearing together for 30 minutes. Back in “the day,” the commentators were able to do it. At least we did not hear about all the news of the day, which was a blessing.

It is a different story today. We hear news from around the world all day long. In fact, some television channels are devoted exclusively to news 24/7. The problem with that is 99.9% of the news is bad news. Good news does not have much of a place on television. We are too busy these days to listen to good news.

We had just settled down to catch up and some of the news and I was not paying too much attention. The way I am, I can watch the news and not hear anything they are saying. My wife, on the other side of the room, hears every word the news commentators are talking about.

We were relaxing, enjoying some coffee while watching the TV. I was drifting off into Whatever Land and just chilling. It was then that I heard from across the room some gasping.

“What is wrong with people?” And, “Don’t they know to do any better?” And, “What does all that violence solve?”

I looked over at my wife and saw her grimacing at the TV. Every once in a while she would shake her head and make some kind of a moaning sound.

I knew not to interrupt her Grimacing Moment and allowed her to have her space. After all, everybody needs a little bit of personal space.

“I can’t believe,” she said most disgustingly, “that he actually said that! What is wrong with that person?”

I did not need to tell her that we live in a very crazy world. A world that has lost all sense of sanity. Unless you are insane these days, you are not going to get along with anybody.

At this point in the evening, I certainly did not want to get into a discussion about how crazy our world was. I have ridden in this rodeo before and I am not ready for another ride.

My wife and I agree on many things and this is one of them. Anger, hatred and violence never solve anything. What we need today is a little more laughter.

Even there the world has gone crazy. The so-called “comedians” are just as bad if not worse than the average insane person in our country. They have a platform to make people laugh, but they use it to vent their anger and wrath toward somebody.

I knew I had to pull my wife out of this cesspool of lunacy. Then a thought came to me. If you want to get your wife to laugh, remind her of something about her great-grandson. It works all the time.

“I was wondering,” I said, trying to direct her attention away from the television, “what our great-grandson was doing today. I wonder if he’s having fun?”

It worked beautifully. She looked at me and changed that hard grimace look into a hilarious laughter.

“You know,” she said, “I was just thinking about him today. I wonder what he’s doing today.”

Then she was off talking about her great-grandson and some very happy moments she had with him. Of course, I cannot be sure of this, but some of what she said was a little bit exaggerated. Believe me, I am not the only one in the family that exaggerates.

However, it worked. It got her away from the heaviness of the insane world around us to the hilarious world of great-grandsons. Nothing is funnier than a great-grandson.

There is a song out in the world that says, “What this world needs is love, sweet love.” I am not sure who sang it, but there is a message to that. I think it goes much further than that. If I was a songwriter or a singer (don’t worry, I’m not going to sing) I would write a song called “What the world needs is laughter, hilarious laughter.”

Love can be rather complicated but laughter opens all the floodgates of real joy.

After a half-hour of laughing about her great-grandson, my wife was back to her normal, jolly self. Laughter makes all the difference in the world. You can tell a lot about a person by what it takes to make him or her laugh.

Solomon understood this better than anyone when he wrote, “All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast” (Proverbs 15:15). And, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

If I were a doctor, this would be my prescription. Laugh three times, and then call me in the morning with a new joke.

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