Years ago, I worked alongside a friend in sales. If you know much about sales, you know it can be high-stress, and I learned that we had two very different approaches to dealing with stress. When work grew stressful, my approach was to laugh and tell a joke. It relieved the pressure and helped me to get through.
My friend’s approach, on the other hand, was to run around like a madman, angry at anyone who got in his way. What made it worse was that he would get angry at me because I wasn’t upset.
When life grows stressful, I prefer to laugh.
We all face blessings and joys in life, but there are also struggles and difficulties in life. The question is, how do we respond to the hard times?
A little over a year ago, I ended up hospitalized in an isolation room with a diagnosis of encephalitis. If you’re not familiar with encephalitis, don’t feel bad… no one is. Here’s a quick rundown: your brain gets inflamed or swells because you’re sick in the head. It’s like your brain turns into my salesman friend. The problem is, encephalitis can leave you crippled, with severe brain damage, in a coma, or even dead. The doctors do not often know how encephalitis will affect a person until it has run its course.
As I lay in the hospital, googling this “encephalitis” sickness to find out what it was all about, I was suddenly confronted by my own mortality. What if I died and left my wife a widow and my kids without their father?
There were many things that carried me through. I can mention my family, my friends, my church and my faith in God and trust in his care. Those things were all huge, with my faith being the greatest area of comfort, but Khyati has asked me to mention humour.
In the midst of a difficult time, I believe God gave me the gift of being able to settle in and laugh. It wasn’t an insane laugh, as a result of my brain undergoing a major renovation, it was the ability to see and enjoy humour in the midst of the pain.
In was during that time in my hospital bed that I began to write an adventure novel geared toward younger readers, packed full of humour. The story featured a smart, witty, sarcastic young man who ended up sucked down a toilet into a strange new world. The story opened up many opportunities for humour!
Writing humour and sharing it with others gave me the chance to see the joy in the midst of pain, to smile and to make others smile. In the midst of an uncertain future, there was laughter.
They say laughter is the best medicine. While I wouldn’t take it over my faith, my family or the actual medicine the doctors gave me, it has been one of the greatest blessings in the midst of this journey of recovery.
I feel bad for my friend in sales. I wish in the midst of the difficulty, he was able to laugh.
~ Shawn Robinson