It can even help you deal with cranky people. What is it?
A sense of humor!
In my family, we have jokes that have been distilled into one phrase. With an injury, we can look at the hurt person and say, “Do we need to take you to the ER for a Band-Aid?”
This refers to the time my son cut his hand on a painting canvas. He was about nine years old. He showed me the wound. By wound, I mean geyser of gushing blood. I couldn’t tell how bad the cut was but based on quantity of blood, I thought it needed stitches. It was Sunday evening and the walk-in clinics were closed. The hospital was our only choice.
We prepared to go to the hospital. We let the dogs out, put on our shoes and got in the car.
We live in the country. A trip to the closest gas station is 15 minutes. The hospital is 40 minutes away with no traffic. By the time we got to the ER to check in, it had been more than an hour since the cut.
We waited 45 minutes for our turn. The nurse led us back to a bed. He asked to see my son’s hand. It had been about two hours since the injury. The nurse peeled back the bloodied bandages. He wiped it and peered at my son’s palm. Our heads formed a circle as we all leaned in to look.
There, near the pad of his thumb, was a cut the same length as a grain of rice.
“Looks OK now,” he said.
“It seemed worse when it happened,” I said. “It was bleeding a lot. I thought he would need stitches.”
“I don’t think there’s enough of a cut to fit a stitch. I can put on a Band-Aid.”
He unwrapped the package and stuck it on.
We walked out, $100 poorer, brand new bandage attached, laughing. Who brings their kid to the ER for a Band-Aid? Us, apparently!
You’ll have times where you make mistakes. It’s clear I lack the ability to diagnose wound severity. But a sense of humor will let you off the hook of dwelling and self-judgment.
We need humor more than ever when we have to go through something hard.
You’ll have situations that you don’t know how to deal with. Things like a friend fighting with her ex-husband, a parent dying, a coworker losing a job, a child in intensive care.
Laughter can be a moment of relief, a way to lighten the situation. A joke about the hospital’s terrible pudding or the ridiculous way the ex-husband writes emails can ease the tension.
Our family’s sense of humor gave us the ability to survive hundreds of hours in hospitals (for things more serious than microscopic cuts) with our sanity intact. Laughter warms up the most sterile of rooms and fills up a heart.
Having a hard moment, hard day, seemingly hard life? Look for the ironic, the nonsensical, the cheesiest thing around. Rejoice in the life you have—imperfect, difficult and confusing.
Find a way to laugh more and get through it!
What tough things has humor helped you through? Tell me about it in the comments!