On those less than cheery days, having a reason to laugh may be as important to our emotional and spiritual welfare as drinking water when we are thirsty.

Sometimes, I need to laugh. If I cannot find something new and intriguing over which to laugh, I may default to some tried and true avenues that bring the grin, the giggle, or the belly laugh.

There are a few movies sure to bring a smile every single time (movies like The Princess Bride or What’s Up Doc? ). Watching a few minutes of some silly misadventure caught on video might get me going. Talking over — yet again — some ridiculous family joke that never ceases to bring amusement as we laugh over whatever it was that happened three years ago. These are some ways to bring me the needed cheer. Even the not-at-all funny jokes that the children have told become funny as the years pass!

Most of us probably went through the phase of sharing “knock-knock jokes” as we grew up. Oh, how charmingly funny we thought ourselves to be! And how kind were our parents and other loved ones who grinned along as though we were the new Bob Hope or Jerry Seinfeld in training. To continue to develop that sense of humor, always with the blessing of a bit of kindness or with a tad of tenderness, helps everyone.

Whatever the avenue for a needed, enjoyable, good laugh, it is worth taking the detour past the busy thoroughfare of daily life in order to breathe a bit more slowly and enjoy a chuckle or two. It is, as the scriptures say it, good medicine.

Samuel Coleridge offered a bit of wisdom when he said, “No mind is thoroughly well organized that is deficient in a sense of humor.”

I offer a few silly “jokes” [admittedly, all things are relative] just in case you are in need of a little laugh today. If you find these lame, take a moment and find something better. Feel free to send it to me. I love to add to my humor collection!

  • When Johnny learned about Adam and Eve in Sunday School, he took the lesson to heart. Midway into the week, Mom found little Johnny lying on the couch, in obvious pain. When asked what was bothering him, Johnny looked imploringly at his mother and said, “Mommy, my side is hurting. I think I’m going to have a wife!”
  • “What time do you go to the dentist?” “At “tooth hurty.” “ [This is one of my children’s least favorite old jokes that I share with them — over and over again.]
  • A dog wrote a letter to God. In it, he asked if there are mailmen in heaven. “If there are,” he wrote, “do I need to apologize?” [Admittedly, this one is weak.]
  • My mother taught me a great deal about exaggeration: “If I have told you once, I’ve told you a million times — don’t exaggerate!”

The beautiful, warm blessing of a bit of humor is that it tenderizes us. It may grant a bit more perspective. It may defuse a possible blowup. Humor can relieve stress and be a delightful pressure reducer. It can grace us with the gaiety that allows us to get through the hard knocks of mortality. It offers a more positive attitude.

To believe that “anything for a laugh” is fair is to accept a lower, ugly side of humor that does little or nothing to benefit us. To assign humor to a subject that is crass, insensitive, or crude only stirs the cold brew of belittling barrage of brutality.

But to sit back for a moment and enjoy a solid, hearty, “good” laugh? To instill the importance of sense of humor in a child — even by laughing at those “funny” jokes? To set aside anger, negativity or self-absorption as we giggle a bit? Or to forget about the things that are so tough, even for a moment, as we share a wonderful belly laugh with another? That’s medicine. That’s sometimes a tiny miracle. That’s great!

President Abraham Lincoln once said, “With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh, I should die.” Dear brothers and sisters, it is sometimes a hard and stressful life. We need faith and strength and courage to get through many days. Sometimes, we just need a laugh.