“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.” (Psalm 98:4)
“People crave laughter as if it were an essential amino acid.” Robin Williams said, playing Patch Adams in the 1998 hit movie. Based on the true story of Hunter “Patch” Adams, the movie champions an approach to healing that treats the person, not just the disease. “Remember laughing?” Adams asks in the movie, dressed as a clown as he visits children and gets even the most disgruntled patient giggling. “Laughter releases endorphins and other natural mood elevating and pain-killing chemicals. Laughter boosts the immune system and helps the body fight off disease. Being happy is the best cure of all diseases!”
Laughter is the best, most joyous noise: cackling, uncontrolled snorting, deep belly guffaws, silly giggles, screaming or squealing in delight. Do you remember getting the giggles when you were supposed to be quiet? How hard was it to subdue that laughter? Laughter will seek every means of escape. It’s a joy that’s not meant to be held back. And its release is the most freeing of feelings! So marvelous it might even bring tears to our eyes, a physical cleansing from the inside out. Breaking out in loud, joyous laughter is like taking off a dress or a pair of pants you’ve worn all day that are just a little too tight. Ah, yes! What joy! What freedom! Make a joyful noise! Let loose with laughter.
Examine: Recall a scene, a memory, something someone said, that made you laugh out loud in joy. Breathe. Notice thoughts and feelings that arise.
Imagine: Imagine yourself surrounded by your dearest friends, the ones who can always make you laugh. Notice the sensations in your body as you recall the joy of laughter. From where in your body does the laughter come? To where does it travel?What is loosened as you laugh? What is set free?
Pray: Free me for joy, O God, so I can live with gratitude.