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“A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones” –Proverbs 17:22.

I love to laugh, and I try to make others laugh. I read recently in a Psychology Today article that “Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.”

I made a pastoral visit this week at Medical Cities of Dallas Hospital. I think the last time I was at this paritular hospital was when our youngest son (Jackson, 22) was born there. I knew that it was on Forest Lane, just west of US 75 Central Expressway. I also knew that there was a shorter “back way.” I couldn’t remember that particular route. I turned to one of my favorite and trusted GPS aps, Waze. As I made my way through the snarling rush hour traffic, I found myself becoming just like everyone else — frustrated and upset. I am not an aggressive driver. I don’t tailgate, I use  my blinker, and I drive the speed limit. I know that puts me in the minority. More and more drivers became increasingly upset with me simply because I was following the rules of the road.

While sitting and waiting at an interminable red light, I received a pop-up on my Waze app inviting me to change the voice of my GPS to one of many other voices. One of the options was the “Cookie Monster” from Sesame Street. I couldn’t resist! I switched voices to one of my all-time favorite characters. While mean and aggressive drivers swarmed around me, I found myself laughing uncontrolably in the metroplex traffic. A few people laid on their horn because I was driving 70 mph instead of 95. Many gave me interesting hand gestures. Others shouted out words I never heard in seminary. Each time this happened, I shouted back to them, “I LOVE YOU, TOO!!” I wish I could have somehow communicated to them the invitation to turn on Waze and let the Cookie Monster relieve their stress.

When I arrived at my destination, Cookie Monster said, “You’ve arrived. You’re a great driver! NOW GIVE ME A COOKIE!!”

I don’t care who you are — that’s funny!

While life is a gift, it’s also very hard. Lighten up. Laugh a little. Have fun. There are a lot of people out there whose crushed spirit has dried up their bones. The best medication is a heart filled with joy.

Invite a friend to worship this coming Sunday, December 1st! It will be a wonderful time worshiping God!


Rev. Jim