Susan Sparks is a breast cancer survivor.  A nurse where she was tested for cancer told her that the Lord would take care of her. Susan reacted with sarcasm, “I think the Lord should have started a little earlier in taking care—like a couple of years ago when these cells started growing!”

When the nurse put her arm around Susan and once again assured her that the Lord would take care of her, Susan rolled her eyes and said, “He has never had breast cancer, so I seriously doubt that he has any idea of how to ‘take care’ of this!”

In her book, “Laugh Your Way to Grace,” Susan is refreshingly transparent about the anger she felt when she first learned of this devastating news.

Anyone diagnosed with cancer or any disease can understand her pain and anger.  But Susan soon learned that her path to healing wasn’t found in her anger.  She began to rise above her pain and transcend her grief through the power of humor.

She remembers drinking out of a coffee mug that said: “My Oncologist Can Beat Up Your Oncologist,” and she had a magnet on the refrigerator that said, “Cancer—it’s not just an astrological sign anymore.”  I think the saying would have been funnier if it had ended with these words: “it’s just an ass.”

Soon humor became the sieve that allowed her to see, hear, and bear the truth.

I saw a video of a parent trying to feed a baby, but the baby wasn’t having the food from the jar. So the parent dangled an ice cream cone in front of the child’s mouth and when the child opened his mouth to take a bite of the ice cream, in came a spoon of baby food.  Everyone seemed to be laughing except the child, who didn’t quite know what just happened.

Humor helps us swallow the stuff that doesn’t taste good and sometimes it isn’t good.  With humor, we bear it easier.

Years ago, I would occasionally go to the hospital as a clown doctor, when clowns were an acceptable form of humor.  Once I visited Delores Garrison.  I had several fun doctor props, which I used to get a laugh out of her.  But the one she loved the most was my little “stool sample.”

My patter went something like this: “Delores, I sometimes require a little stool sample from my patients, but some are reluctant to give me one, so I brought you one of my own for you.”

I handed her a pill bottle and asked her to open it.  Inside the pill bottle, she poured out a little three-legged stool.   It was “my little stool sample.”

Delores laughed and laughed. She refused to give me back my stool sample and for the rest of the day, every nurse that came into her room, she shared with them the stool sample that her pastor left with her.

One of the gifts that humor gives us is that when we are laughing, even if but for a moment, we forget about our pain, our troubles, and our grief.  We rise above it, and we conquer it.

Medically, laughter releases endorphins into the brain, which raise our ability to ignore pain. The benefits of laughter have proven to help people improve their cardiac health and immune system.

The writer of Proverbs wrote that “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 KJV).

Those of us who worship the Lord have the greatest reason to have a joyful spirit because the Spirit of Christ lives within us.

However, this world can be difficult, and it is always threatening to suck the life out of us.

We always need to look for humor.  It is a gift and a powerful tool given to us by God.

If you are in Jefferson on March 23, 7:00 P.M., Susan Sparks will be at the Jackson EMC.  Her standup comedy routine will give you an hour of laughter and allow you to forget whatever is troubling you in the world. Come join us and have some fun.  Tickets are only $5.00.