A Little Medicine

graduation2“A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones.” ~ Proverbs 17:22

God gave our family a little dancer. Her name is Emily Frances. I don’t know where it came from. She hasn’t even seen a ballet yet.

“Sit down, Mama. Watch me dance,” Emmy sometimes says.

So I do. She bobs and weaves and spins and arches her arms over her head gracefully. I bought her a pink tutu to go with her butterfly wings at Christmas. Our little dancer, not yet carrying the weight of the world, sometimes adds singing to her performance. She makes up funny songs of her own. They make perfect sense to her. Sometimes she sings about the sun and clouds and the sky, about monkeys and puppies, and then she throws in references to Jesus loving her. She usually ends with “So Let the Sun Shine In” or my own love song I invented for my babes long ago, “I love you more than the wind can blow, I love you more than the sky can snow, I love you more than you’ll ever know…”

Watching our daughter, I wish to myself that this sunny child would never have to have her heart broken or have some joy killer tell her that her dancing is “dumb” or all the things other kids hurl at you once you hit the real world. What Emmy brings is a merry heart to our home. You can’t watch her for long without smiling and chuckling over some new pearl of wisdom. (She informed her pediatrician recently that no, she does not eat grapes because they are a “choking hazard.” Needless to say, the doctor was surprised!)

When Tom’s sister and her husband were here at Christmas, as usual, they brought a lot of laughter. I sat back and listened to the conversation that frequently rolled into the past. My sister-in-law, her husband and Tom all grew up together, attending the same schools from grade school onward and the same church. There was so much laughter. There is nothing like that sound. It really is a healing thing.

We forget to see little things sometimes. We get so used to grizzling into our corn flakes over the struggles in our lives that laughter can seem far away. That’s when God’s provision of others who make us smile is a great help. Have you ever known someone who walks into the room and it lights up? (And I don’t mean as in detonation!) These personalities are a gift to us. It’s not that introverts don’t bring gifts to the human race. But sometimes you need someone to mess up your hair and say, “Hey! Don’t look so serious.”

Once, years ago, Tom and I were mulling over some new catastrophe and were so bowed down with care we were just sitting in dejected silence in the car. I suddenly opened the car door, scooped up a handful of fresh snow and tossed it at him. He did the same, and we had a good laugh. Kick the gloom. Mess up somebody’s hair or toss a pillow at them. Laughter does good like medicine, the Bible says so. Life is short. Don’t let joy killers ruin it!

14 thoughts on “A Little Medicine

  1. Paula says:

    That was perfect ! I noticed that this whole past year, I hardly ever laughed and I realized one day that that is just not how one should go through life. Everybody has burdens, and I wouldn’t trade mine with someone else. SO I decided each day to find a way to laugh, even if I had to watch America’s Funniest Home Video’s to do so. Doing that changed a lot for me in a good way. Thanks Ing.

  2. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Once years ago I threw a party and some of the “life of the party” people who were supposed to be there didn’t show. Everybody who did come was of the reserved and quiet sort. It was hilarious —- after the fact. Everyone stood around clutching cups of punch, morosely chomping on chips and glancing at the door as if waiting for someone to start things. After the chips ran out, people began heading for the door in droves. Haha! Not even my offer to screen my best Rick Steves travel DVD’s seemed to interest them! (Just kidding about the DVD’s, of course!)

  3. Teeky says:

    Read the Scripture: Nehemiah 8:9-12

    “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

    “Though weeping is necessary, it is not the final message God has for us. To show this, Nehemiah and Ezra speak up and correct the people. What a powerful statement of the effect of the Word of God! When people understand it, it brings joy. “The joy of the LORD is your strength.” What a great word for grieving people who see the evil in their lives and the lives of those around them and mourn over what it has produced! The word that brings joy is that of forgiveness. God can forgive! He does, and He will restore. That is what Jesus meant when He said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). I don’t think you will ever be comforted until you learn to mourn. When you see the hurt, pain, and despair that sin can produce and you grieve over it, then you are ready for the comfort of forgiveness.” – Quote from Authentic Christianity

    God bless you my dear sister, and fill you abundantly with HIS joy! I love you and hope this encourages your precious heart.

  4. Judi says:

    “Have you ever known someone who walks into the room and it lights up?”–I remember reading in a magazine years ago where Ronald Reagan described his wife Nancy something like this. “She’s like walking into a room filled with sunshine.” I thought then, what a wonderful way to be described by your husband. I’d like to be like that. (But I’m pretty sure I’m not.)

    I love this post, Ingrid. Thank you. 🙂

  5. Carol says:

    Ingrid, Emmy’s joyful spirit is from the Lord! He knew what you would need when He formed her in your womb! (I remember how surprised you were at that time!) Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. God made her this way with a desire to dance! Psalm 150 says to praise Him with instruments and dancing. That’s just what the Lord created your family to do! I’m sure that it pleases Him to see Emmy dancing in His freedom of spirit and bringing you joy, too! Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom! 2 Cor. 3:17. The Lord is lifting your spirits even in this difficult situation that you are in and your family is reflecting the Glory of the Lord, Praise Him!

  6. Lisa Green Kentala says:

    Love this! Bad things are going to happen in everyone’s life – that’s a given. Happy times, fun times, laughter – those things are precious! Between Emily’s “choking hazard” and your “sad party” description – I’m smiling right now 🙂

  7. Jean Selden says:

    One of the things that attracted me to my husband was his sense of humor. He could make life so fun and funny. I came from a very comical family and seem to find laughter a medicine to us when life is hard. It can often turn the course of our thinking.

    I cannot imagine living healthily without it. And there are always certain people, when down, to lift my spirits. I am grateful to be living with one.

    In Him Always,

  8. Sam says:

    This post calls for a Chesterton quote… or two!

    “Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labor by which all things live.”

    “The vault above us is not deaf because the universe is an idiot; the silence is not the heartless silence of an endless and aimless world. Rather the silence around us is a small and pitiful stillness like the prompt stillness in a sick-room. We are perhaps permitted tragedy as a sort of merciful comedy: because the frantic energy of divine things would knock us down like a drunken farce. We can take our own tears more lightly than we could take the tremendous levities of the angels. So we sit perhaps in a starry chamber of silence, while the laughter of the heavens is too loud for us to hear.”

  9. Beverley says:

    Thank you for the medicine! What a special time to sit and watch your Emily. Can’t help but praise the Lord for such precious moments. The Chesterton quote, “…praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul.”
    PSALM 148 12 Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:
    13 Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.
    14 He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the Lord.

  10. Yvonne says:

    What a glorious testimony to God’s provision in your life! Despite the horrible challenges that you have faced, you testify to His blessings. May we all recognize and grow from your example.

  11. Bonnie says:

    Thanks Ingrid! Lovely story about a precious child! Time is passing by for Em and for her grandfather that neither will ever get back. I have learned a hard lesson that children grow up and if you miss the baby years, they are gone forever. May God teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.


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