God’s medicine

Our sons laugh it up in Victoria, British Columbia 1993

Our sons laugh it up in Victoria, British Columbia 1993

“Mirth is God’s medicine.  Everybody ought to bathe in it.”  — Henry Ward Beecher

As Norman Cousins famously demonstrated, laughter really is the best medicine.  It can break through the gloom and lift the heart more quickly than any other remedy.  Years ago while we lived in Ohio, we were coping with the worrisome heart defects of our newborn son, along with the normal stress of caring for an infant and his 16-months-older brother.  I remember coming in from work late at night (I worked an airline job) feeling tired, worried and discouraged.  My husband would leave a clipping on the kitchen table for me to read from the Dayton newspaper, by a then-little-known humor columnist named Dave Barry.  No matter how blue I was feeling, Barry’s writing would have me laughing aloud, and the effect was as cleansing to the spirit as a hot shower to a grimy body.  Over the years I’ve felt a deep appreciation for anyone who brings laugher into our lives.  Laugher is serious business.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. You can view the original with comments here.


  1. Thank you, Julia, I could use a good laugh!
    I immediately went to Overdrive and downloaded the audiobook “Lessons for Lucy,” read by Dave Barry.
    You see how much you enrich my life, Julia? I didn’t even know about Overdrive until you told me about it!
    Thank you, thank you, many times, thanks!

    • Susan, I’m so glad you are enjoying Overdrive. I also recommend RB Digital, which has a completely different selection of titles. Many of the books I like that I can’t get on Overdrive, I can get on RB Digital. I have been surprised how many people don’t know about these free (i.e., taxpayer-funded) resources! Even people who never set foot in a library can enjoy them from home and save a bundle!

  2. Liz Winterrowd

    I remember these days of doing life as friends! Thank you for being my friend! Liz

    • Liz, what a delightful surprise to see you here! How are you? If you ever have time to write or email, I’d love to catch up. Yes, we have many fun memories of those years we could hardly have a conversation because one or the other our kids were keeping us hopping! Come see me sometime and we can FINALLY have a cup of tea with no interruptions! ❤

  3. mike c. B

    Laughter is serious business. Yes it is. And I think Raynard would agree. I also like the self-deprecating kind like when I tried to show Norah how to do a somersault and ended up twisting my neck and had to ice it, somehow trying to do this off a chair I cam down wrong. I think i have read a couple of things. Tomorrow is a symposium on “Edible landscape” gardening at Hickory flat Library put on by Cherokee Master Gardeners group. I plan to go ,but as they say’If you want to make God laugh tell him/her your plans.

    • Oh dear! Yes, self-deprecating humor is appealing but it’s definitely best if nobody get injured in the process. That bit about making God laugh reminds me of the kind of week I had this week. Lots of plans and appointments. Then at Matt’s Tuesday routine cardiology appointment, he was found to have been in tachycardia for over 2 weeks and they scheduled immediate hospitalization for cardioversion, after attempts to pace him out of it via his pacemaker failed to knock him back into normal sinus rhythm. I came home and frantically started changing all those appointments and plans. But one of his cardiologists, who knows him well and has really great instincts about him, called me the night before admission and advised me to send in his cardiac data the next morning before we left to come to the hospital. She had a hunch he would come out of it spontaneously, even though the chances of that were slim after more than two weeks out of rhythm. But she turned out to be right! And she spared us a hospitalization, at least for this week. He’s scheduled to be hospitalized again soon for further procedures, but for now, even though all those plans were disrupted, I feel so thankful that the chaos ended and we’ll have time to plan for his upcoming admission.

  4. mike c.

    What a day.

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