“Looking at His disciples, He said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh'” (Luke 6:20-21).
We were a small group of two at first until others slowly arrived. Nothing unusual to have late arrivals as circumstances get in the way.
Eventually we filled out to five women. A small group, nevertheless, as more than half the members could not attend.
We come together in prayer, praise, and request. We are a HopeKeepers group joined together because of chronic conditions. We garner strength from being together and praying. We reflect, support, and share. But on this day we mostly laughed.
Laugh: “to make the spontaneous sounds and movements of the face and body that are the instinctive expressions of lively movement.”
We laughed when the nurse told of her escapades trying to help a resident of a facility dress, realizing new undergarments were necessary.
We laughed at another member’s upcoming trip. Her anxiety is serious, but the humor came from her description of juggling a carry on bag, purse, cane, and CPAP machine as she takes three flights to a sunny destination.
This brought about tips for traveling from others and more humorous stories. One member’s husband called the airport trying to locate his wife. “She walked away,” said the attendant. This person has multiple sclerosis and has not walked in years.
There was no disrespect just a group of friends laughing about absurd situations. We did not follow the agenda I set for our meeting, but it was good to realize that despite our life situations, we find humor.
The group included members with new physical challenges and family stressors. And we supported one another. To an outsider our conversations may have sounded odd. But it felt necessary.
The act of laughing is a remarkable stress reliever. And it felt good, because dealing with chronic illness can become depressing. We all have trials but God will see us through. But there are serious issues to this life–and sometimes when you get a group of caring people together you have to step back, breathe, and laugh.
Prayer: Dear Lord, bless these beautiful HopeKeeper members and all affected by chronic illness. Give them comfort and strength and help them remember it is good to laugh sometimes. Amen.
About the author:
Laura Seil Ruszczyk lives in New York with her husband of 27 years and her three children. She is a retired elementary school counselor who currently runs a HopeKeepers group at her church. She has dysautonomia, the deregulation of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls such invisible functions as heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and temperature control.
What makes you laugh?