"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
It is said that Easter is God's joke on the Devil. It doesn't matter if the Devil comes with horns and hoofs, or as a day when you just can't get out of bed for the depression, or the call that tells you about the tumor, or the addiction that seems impervious to detox, or the illness of thinking everyone would be better off if you were dead, or a tearing rage you're in that destroys everything and everyone within a ten foot radius. The effect is the same: Death. Destruction. Devilish despair.
Because whatever anyone may tell you: Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Despair is. If God is all joy, all Good, all Love, all Laughter, then the Devil is a vacuum, the force that seeks to suck those gifts out of our lives.
When I got sick with cancer, I got a lot more doctors all of a sudden. And it seems that laughter really is the best medicine, because three of them prescribed it for me—they wrote it down on the same page as my medications and supplements. I was supposed to laugh, every single day. This is how you get the Devil off your back.
I can give you all kinds of data about how laughing lowers your blood pressure, releases endorphins; how it doesn't matter whether the laughter is genuine or not, it has the same effect on your biochemistry. But you don't read this devotional for information, you read it for inspiration, right? So stop reading about laughter and just do it. Watching her laugh might help, but likely you have your own Youtube-go-to for surefire laughter.
There is nothing you will go through that is so hard that you can't dispel some of the darkness by laughing. And if nothing seems funny right now: well, fake it till ya make it. It turns out the therapists' cliché has a basis in science and gospel truth.
Holy God, Voltaire once accused You of being a jester playing to a universe too afraid to laugh. Maybe that was true before You brought this cartoonist to the planet, but now we have no excuse. Help us to fake it till we make it, knowing You're on stage for our amusement.
Molly Baskette is Senior Minister at First Church Somerville UCC, in Somerville, Massachusetts.