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Snort, Howl, and Bust a Gut
J. B. Wood
Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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Can you remember the last time you laughed so hard you almost peed your pants?

I'm sorry. That's probably not an appropriate question coming from a spiritually minded business professional. However, dear reader, I believe it is a worthwhile question to consider.

So, really, when was the last time you just threw your head back and busted a gut?

I ask this because, well, the grown-up life can make us a little ornery at times. Whether it's the crazed workload we're facing, or those screeching kids, or the bills piling up month after month, we sure can get cranky at times. And if it piles up high enough and long enough, we might just forget what it was like. To let it all go.

To laugh.

Have you ever laughed so hard that you couldn't breathe? Or, at the dinner table, did you ever snarf up that last gulp of milk in a hearty fit of fun?

Smiling is okay, but I'm talking here about falling-off-your-chair laughter.

Once, in college, I got together with a group of friends for some kind of serious prayer matter. But instead of praying, we all got laughing so hard over some silly little thing that it literally went on for about 10 minutes. We couldn't stop. Maybe it was the pressure of exams, or the relief of spring break coming, or some new manifestation of the Holy Spirit. I can't remember. But I do recall falling down hard on the floor from a complete and utter loss of muscular control. That was 1982.

I hope I haven't forgotten how to laugh that hard.

Scientists have discovered that laughter releases some kind of endorphin in the brain, just like a drug. Who couldn't use that?

When my daughters were small, there were several occasions when I got into a fit of laughter while making up little stories for them. It would all start innocently enough, like when I was trying to keep those naughties occupied while waiting in the car for my wife to finish an errand. I'd make up a story using whatever props happened to be in front of me as the main characters. By the time I got to the part where the gruff cell phone demanded a third fish taco from the stubborn hairbrush, I had completely lost it. Tears in my eyes, gagging and gurgling, the whole bit. My girls laughed too, even though they weren't quite sure why it was so funny—except that daddy was cracking himself up so, so hard.

Maybe your situation is dire, and you struggle to find anything funny about it. I know some of you are out of work, battling chronic illnesses, demoralized and frustrated. Still, I bet you are loved by someone, and maybe together you can both find a reason to laugh.

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