‘A cheerful heart is a good medicine’
COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
“Laughter is sunshine,” Victor Hugo wrote in Les Misérables; “it chases winter from the human face.” Well, it certainly seems last week’s column on humour helped chase away winter from the faces of many of our readers, if the responses I received are any indication.
Fellow columnist Ron Gobeil, for instance, commented: “My kids and grandkids keep laughing about me losing my memory. They won’t be laughing at Christmas when there’s no eggs under the tree!”
Speaking of kids, there’s this response from longtime coffee companion Rabbi Shaul Osadchey: “The young couple invited their elderly pastor for Sunday dinner. While they were in the kitchen preparing the meal, the minister asked their son what they were having.
"Goat," the little boy replied.
“Goat?” replied the startled man of the cloth. “Are you sure about that?”
“Yep,” said the youngster. “I heard Dad say to Mom, ‘Today is just as good as any to have the old goat for dinner.’”
Kids in their innocence do have a way of chasing winter away with laughter, such as this one from our Ontario coffee companion Kathleen Adamson:
“A little boy came home from Sunday School and remarked to his mother that he thought it was odd that God could be a quilt. His mother waded through reasoning with him that God was not a quilt at all, but later his Sunday School teacher chuckled that he must have got that from the message that, in times of trouble, God was a Comforter.”
Kathleen is quick to observe that “the perceptions of kids about faith may be more spot-on than we realize.”
But humour has an important role for our aerospace reader, Sandy McLeod, too. Reflecting on his days in the cockpit, he writes:
“Pilots know the meaning of ‘funny.’ Humour is magic and powerful stuff. In flight, all locked in together, reacting to personal situations in the cabin and cockpit, creativity abounds. Pilots create humour for staff to take the monotony out of the job. They must be always alert. No room for failure. Funny statements really help, even in extremely stressful situations at 40,000 feet. It can set the stage for instant stress relief regarding lifesaving avoidance of a potential disaster.
“So also in our everyday human life, we all can use more ‘impulse funny’ at any time – well-meant and well-said, that is,” Sandy adds.
“Humour is like a very large helium balloon. When you get the impact, it can take you to 40,000 feet. Instantly, it lightens the heart and mind, strengthening the soul. In this troubled era of human challenges and unexpected negative emotional impact, we can’t get enough of it.”
Back to Rabbi Shaul, he also says, “I always love some good church/religious humour.” So, he sent this one, too – on the best way to pray:
A priest, a minister and a guru sat discussing the best positions for prayer, while a telephone repairman worked nearby.
“Kneeling is definitely the best way to pray,” the priest said.
“No,” said the minister. “I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched to Heaven.”
“You’re both wrong,” the guru said. “The most effective position is lying down on the floor.”
The repairman could contain himself no longer. “Hey, fellas,” he interrupted. “The best prayin’ I ever did was when I was hangin' upside down from a telephone pole.”
Back to Ron Gobeil’s response, he wrote a poem for us:
Nice and light
And humour is good for our health, too. Proverbs 17:22 says: “A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.”
So thanks, readers, for this good medicine.
© 2023 Warren Harbeck