At a recent dinner we were introduced to a new staff member of our church. The dinner was filled with laughter and fun, and a follow-up email from the staff member contained some self-deprecating humor. I was instantly drawn to this man. He was passionate about his work, but did not take himself too seriously -- something that I want to emulate.
Laughter and positive humor are important essentials on the journey. In a June 29, 2003 article in the travel section of the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, the feature article was entitled "Traveling with a spouse -- and a sense of humor." The article critiqued a book, Traveling While Married, by Mary Lou Weisman in which the author laughingly recounts lessons unlearned. Travel with the inability to laugh can be a deadly combination.
Positive humor helps lighten the load on the journey. However, much of the humor today is negative. Christian Hageseth III, M.D., a Fort Collins, Colorado psychiatrist, contrasted positive and negative humor during a postgraduate seminar by stating that "positive humor heals and negative humor hurts."
Humor is positive when:
- Anxiety is reduced for all, not just a few.
- People become closer physically and psychologically.
- Communication is enhanced.
- People become open to new ideas rather than defensive.
- Truths are exposes rather than prejudices and stereotypes.
Our spiritual journey needs some laughter and lightness as well. We need to take our spiritual lives seriously, but we need to take ourselves lightly. Solomon recognized this when he said,
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." (Proverbs 17:22 NIV)