Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Laugh And the World Laughs

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of humor again. It really is amazing how a good laugh can not only dispel negative feelings and thoughts, but can literally melt away tense situations.
Many years ago my father served as mayor of a small town, Centerville, Utah, during the time it was changing from rural to suburban. One night he was conducting a town meeting to discuss the need to put curb and gutter along Main Street. Several of the farmers who had land on Main Street were very upset about the cost of this project. As the meeting went on many of them grew angry and were very vocal about their feelings. Finally in a rage one old farmer stood and yelled at my father, “Mayor Mills, you can go to hell!”
The city lawyer, Keith Stahle, was sitting next to my father and without missing a beat he said loud and clear, “Mayor Mills, I’ve researched the books, and you don’t need to go unless you want to.”
At those words the entire room broke out in laughter and the mood changed so that a positive discussion could take place. When used in the right way, humor can be powerful. Humor can change a mood. It can change an attitude. It can change dark, negative thoughts into bright, cheerful ones.
If you have stories like the one about my dad in which humor changed you or others, leave a comment and tell us about it.


Anonymous said...

I had almost forgot your Dad was mayor, and a very good one as I recall. He was a beloved man and I remember when he was so sick from encephalitis(?). We were just kids, but I remember the ward fasts and our Suday School teacher drawing on the blackboard what his illness caused and why it was so serious. I was so worried you wouldn't have your Dad anymore and was so grateful when he recovered. His sense of humor was amazing, especially when you remember what a determined bunch some of the long term farmers were. Your story of that meeting is priceless.

SMJ said...

Cathie, Thank you! You brought back a lot of memories! More miracles. He was a good man and I was very blessed to have him as a father.

Wendi said...

Yeah, laughter is great medicine. So, is service. I just went to the temple today and out to lunch with a group from our Relief Society. I really enjoyed both activities. Nothing like the combination of service and laughter! :)

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Wendi, You are so right! Two very positives like that will outweigh a lot of negative!

Anita said...

I can remember one time driving in the car with the girls about a year ago. They were bickering in the back seat and I could tell that Ben and I were reaching our breaking point. Instead of yelling, I turned to Ben and starting whining, "Don't touch me! You're sitting too close!" He started playing along and said, "Mom, I'm hungry!" or something like that. The kids thought we'd lost our minds, but we got a good laugh out of it rather than lose our temper.

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Anita, That is a good one. I'll bet the whole family is still bringing that one up occasionally so that it still keeps you laughing! Thanks for sharing!!!

Debbie Feller said...

Dear Sherrie, Just wanted to tell you how much I have been enjoying the midweek activities!! I am learning so much!!! You're a great teacher!!! Thanks for sharing your talent & insights with us!!! You're literally miraculous!!! Sorry I had to sneak out today...I had another appt. But I was so glad to get to hear at least some of it!!!
Love, Debbie

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Debbie, Thank you so much for the encouragement. You are always so kind. It is great having you back in the ward. We missed you!

Karey said...

I enjoyed going to your class yesterday, Sherrie. I promised to share how I cut my hair with you. It will take too much time up on this comment page, but you're welcome to email me.

As for finding humor, my husband and I have a motto: Wouldn't it be great if we all acted like dogs? They wag their tail no matter what your day has been like or no matter how you act around them. They have no judgment. They live in the present. If either of us are being more human than divine, the other one of us has taken to saying, "I'm still wagging my tail." Just saying that turns a private judgmental moment into feelings of love, listening, patience and seeing the goodness and godliness in the other.

For fun, you might want to see what your name star looks like on my website. You might want to imagine that your soul's light looks something like what you see there.

God bless you. Sending many blessings and much love your way,