Is laughter the best medicine?
Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains. (Proverbs 14:13)
Nicolas Chamfort said, "The most wasted day of all is that on which we have not laughed." Laughter is not always from a cheerful and giddy heart. There are many times it conceals a hurt much deeper than the naked eye can see. There is little mirth in fear, but someone who is fearful can giggle or laugh in their nervousness over the situation. Sometimes there is very little 'amusement' in what is going on in someone's life, but there will be laughter instead of tears. We may never know what a laugh really conceals, but when we are open to being led by the Holy Spirit, the opportunity to help someone past their fear, grief, or inner pain may reveal itself.
What makes a heart heavy? We all realize loss can weigh a heart down, sometimes for a long time. There are times when our heart is made heavy because of what we are feeling for others - experiencing just a bit of their pain over something catastrophic in their lives. Probably the worst kind of 'heaviness of heart' is when our sin-nature gets the best of us, and we fall for some temptation that we should have avoided completely. This one brings more than just a 'heaviness' of heart - it can carry a whole lot of guilt that just piles on over the top of our sorrow, making the burden quite heavy to carry at times. We might attempt to 'laugh away' that guilt and sorrow, but the only true means of being 'unburdened' from it is to confess it and let God restore your heart.
Some tell-tale signs that someone might be concealing a bit more under that laughter could be:
- Laughing when the topic is touched upon and then quickly changing the subject, so they don't have to dwell upon it
- Laughing as the subject is brought up, then continuing to use sarcastic humor to 'poke fun' at oneself
- Laughing at a suggestion that they might benefit from a little help, or perhaps confiding in someone they trust about whatever it is that is causing them so much pain
These are but a few, but you likely know of some ways we 'conceal' our heaviness of heart just by looking at how YOU do it on occasion. Realize that we aren't alone in this 'concealment' process - we all have our 'coping mechanisms' - good and bad.
How can we be sensitive to someone's heaviness of heart today? It begins by asking God to open our eyes, ears, and heart to others and their needs. When the Holy Spirit prompts, be ready to respond. Not all laughter will be the result of a heavy heart, but when one is being concealed, he will reveal it to the one who has asked to be used to ease the burden of others. Just sayin!