My father loved cowboy pictures and also enjoyed watching war movies, but the reason he relished them wasn't so much the action but the humour. "Just watch their one liners in a tough situation Bob!" He used to tell me and we laughed together as soldiers in the thick of battle with bullets flying all round them said something witty and made light of the tense situation.

Which made me wonder today whether we laugh during tough times in real life too? Laughter and tears are part of living aren't they? But do we find enough time for laughter? I'm not asking if we experience lots of good times. Of course we should laugh during those happy moments. But do we also laugh during difficult hours?

Times when we think our world is crashing down?

Erma Bombeck is known for her humorous books, but she wrote one that covered a more serious topic: Cancer in children. The book is titled, 'I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to go to Boise,'(Harper and Row, 1989). Erma talks with numerous children with cancer and learns important life lessons from them. She learns for instance, that cancer survivors know how to laugh.

She cites the experience of 15-year-old Jessica from Burlington. Jessica's leg was amputated at the knee because of cancer. She was learning to wear a prosthesis. Jessica tells about playing soccer. She kicked the ball hard and it flew off in one direction while her artificial leg flew another way. Then "the tall, gorgeous person that I am," she said, "convulsed on the floor in laughter!"

Jessica may not have laughed about her cancer, but she laughed about dealing with the consequences of it.

And her laughter helped her cope.

Then there is the story of 17-year-old Betsy. She made her way to the radiation room for her regular radiation therapy. As usual, she dropped her hospital gown and, wearing only her birthday suit, climbed onto the table and waited. After a couple of moments she began to realize something disturbing; the extra people in the room were not the medical students she had thought they were, but painters giving an estimate on painting!

Betsy laughs heartily about the incident. And like Jessica, her ability to laugh helped her to cope with one of the most difficult things a young person can endure – cancer!

Once there'd be a difference of opinion between my dad and mom when our house was being painted and my mother was pretty upset over maybe the choice of colour or some such thing. Without thinking I sat on some paper on the floor and heard the crunch of glass. To my horror I realized I had sat on a family photograph. My father came and picked up the pieces from under me, looked at the broken frame and said, "Bob! Couldn't you have sat on my family picture and not on that of your mother's today?" Our house convulsed with laughter!

I believe laughter is God's gift to us, to cope..!

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.