One Sunday afternoon I sprawled out on the living room floor and drifted off to sleep. I dreamt that two KGB officers were pursuing me on foot through the darkened back alleys of our small town. They cornered me by a garden shed, pinning me by the arms. I tried to wiggle. I could not. Waking, I found a child sitting on one of my arms, another on the other and the third on his way to the pantry to get a Cheerio. Pulling my shirt up, he inserted the piece of cereal in my belly button. “Here Mojo!” he yelled, and the dog came running. Pointing to the Cheerio, he hollered, “Get it, get it!” You have a choice at such a time. I chose to join in. “Whatever you do,” I said, between bouts of laughter, “don’t put honey on my forehead.” You know what happened next. They even dabbed it on my lips.
I am convinced that few things are more important in leading a balanced, joy-filled, peaceful life than a good sense of humour. Laughter, stress and worry cannot co-exist for long. Stress inflates our balloons to the popping point; laughter slowly releases the pressure. But laughter is not always easy to come by. Several years ago, in the midst of a burnout, I spent some time with Ken Davis, an internationally renowned comedian, and one of the funniest men I know. Much of Ken’s humour has grown from adversity. For one thing, he can’t turn his arms a certain way—something I noticed when we first golfed together. It gives Ken an excuse if I beat him. Ken grew up in a somewhat crippling, legalistic environment. “There wasn’t much laughter in our home,” he recalls. “There were times when we had fun, but there was also a lot of tension.” Sometimes people will ask him, “How can you talk about Jesus one minute and laugh the next?” His response: “How can I not? Because of what Christ has done, I’m free to laugh.”
One of the greatest reasons for joy, Ken believes, is that we are not some accident of slimy algae, like too many are being taught in school, but the purposeful creation of a magnificent God. “This same God who gave us a hilarious world and who created us unique and wonderful, chose to give His Son up so that we might live. He loves us and proved it with His gift of Christ. That is our ultimate reason for joy and peace. That joy stays when you can’t laugh anymore. When you are burned out or in the midst of tragedy. That joy never goes away.” Even when you’re pinned to the floor and it’s cheerio time.