They say you can die of a broken heart. There is even medical data that explains this phenomenon. I could have been one of those statistics throughout the many catastrophic events that have played out throughout my life. This was especially true the year my mom died. I was so lost, heartbroken, and confused. Had it not been for my faith in Christ and the humor He gave me, I would not have made it through that dark season.
Just as grief and brokenness can be hurtful to your health, laughter can do the exact opposite! Laughter triggers healthy responses both physically and emotionally! Laughter triggers the release of endorphins which promote a great sense of well-being by decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells. This then keeps your body in better shape to fight off infection. Laughter even protects the heart by increasing blood flow. And most importantly, in my humble opinion, LAUGHTER BURNS CALORIES!! Can I get an AMEN!?
“A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
Throughout my time serving with Good Grief! Ministries I have been asked how in the world grief can be good when it hurts so bad. How is this possible? Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, loss of a marriage, a prodigal child, infertility, or a shattered dream, the grief still cuts like a knife, no matter where it’s rooted. In my experiences, the only healthy way we can survive any type of grief is to find the “good” in it. I absolutely agree that grief itself is not good, but we can choose to have good moments during these times. One thing is for certain, we will all go through it, and how we handle adversity will make all the difference.
Sharing your story with a friend and a cup of coffee, going to an amusement park, the zoo and even shopping are great ways to start finding your joy again. I remember the first year after my mom died, I thought I was supposed to rob myself from enjoying anything good life had to offer. I didn’t laugh at jokes or go to fun places. I was in a pretend state of being “fine.” After being miserable for quite some time, I decided to do something different. I chose to have joy in the middle of the grief. This choice was life changing. Choosing JOY and finding the “good” in grief not only changed my life for the better but the lives of those around me as well.
The memories that flood our minds after a deep loss or tragedy hit us at the most awkward moments, don’t they? One of the times this happened to me was when I was in the bathroom with my 5 year old daughter. Yes, I said bathroom! We were just sitting there chatting and all of a sudden I thought of how much my mom would have loved to see her granddaughter and how awesome she would have been as a Grandma. I immediately lost it and Niagara Falls came pouring out of my eyes. When my daughter showed signs of concern for me, I started telling her about my mom and sharing hilarious stories I remembered. As I shared, we both started laughing at how very much alike we all were. Instead of dwelling on the loss, we were laughing at the joy. During that special moment sitting there in the bathroom, laughing and sharing stories, Hayli was able to experience firsthand what Good Grief looks like.
Through sharing our stories with others and finding joy in the difficulties, we not only help ourselves get through the pain, but we provide an example to those around us on how to handle life’s difficulties when they go through them as well.
Once thing is certain in life, adversity is no respecter of persons. Either you have just gone through something very difficult, you’re going through it right now, or you’re about to go through it. Since we can’t escape it, why not equip ourselves to know how to handle it? There is a great verse in the Bible about getting through these tough times in life:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Paul shares with us that God comforts us in our struggles, and when He comforts us, He expects us to show others that same comfort. You see, God has a plan and a purpose for us, even in the pain we experience. He has purpose through the comfort He gives. He comforts us SO THAT we can comfort others when they go through something we have already been through with the comfort God showed us.
Today, use your story and your experiences to impact the lives of those around you. Let’s allow Christ to be our hope, our strength, and our JOY. Today, choose to have Joy and laugh a little more. Find the good in grief. Let’s change the world around us one person at a time, and together we can make a difference!
* Join us for our Good Grief? Workshop on July 22, where Debbie will share how to experience blessings and choose joy through grief.
Debbie Grady speaks hope and humor back into hearts of those around her by keeping it real through humor and real-life stories. She reminds listeners that throughout this extreme journey called life, God offers His goodness through our struggles and leads us to a life full of unexplainable joy! Debbie completed undergraduate studies at LeTourneau University and has completed her Associates degree at Texas Baptist Seminary in Biblical Counseling. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Mike, their Bullmastiff, Remington, their French Bulldog, Chunk, and their energetic 11 year old daughter, Hayli. Check out her ministry page!