I made my mother laugh. Not just a quiet smile or chuckle, but a stomach cramping, bent over, a shriek of laughter that came in waves of delirious joy that caused her to smile and laugh all over again long after the initial surge was gone. This was quite a feat for an 82-year-old woman with stage-one Alzheimer’s disease!
The cause of this spontaneous happiness was a little picture of me that I sent her as a part of a Halloween gift package. It was taken 50 years ago and in it I’m a five-year-old boy in a bow-tie playing my accordion while sporting a wide toothless grin. This long, forgotten photo was placed in a Halloween decorated frame that had been stamped with the words, “L’il Pumpkin.”
This image released a flood of happy memories and my mother, who lives in Montreal, had to call me late at night to tell me how wonderful this small gift made her feel. She couldn’t wait until the next day to call —- so great was her excitement. Mom said that her joy made her feel young for the moment, more alive somehow, even carefree for the few precious hours that she savored the thoughts and emotions released by that little picture of her only son so far away.
Solomon says that laughter is medicine for the soul (Prov. 15:13). I believe that laughter is a taste of heaven, that’s why it’s so good. How else to explain why the experience of heaven is often described in terms of bliss and joy? (1 Pet. 4:13).
There’s no science for this, but I’m fully convinced that people who don’t laugh, don’t know how to laugh, don’t like to laugh, don’t want to laugh, don’t create laughter…these folks won’t like heaven much. I say this because God commands His people to “rejoice always…” (1 Thess. 5:16) and even established feasts that encouraged His people to spend long periods of time in joyful celebration (i.e., Purim – Esther chapter 9).
There is so much evil and sorrow in this world that can easily distract us but as Christians, we always have an eternal reason to smile. Go ahead…make someone smile today, it’ll let heaven shine through.