A Time to Laugh

Senior women laughing

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to weep and a time to laugh.—ECCLESIASTES 3: 1 AND 4 (NIV)

After his move to nursing home care, my father-in-law Jack’s Alzheimer’s progressed. Seeing his rapid decline was
especially hard on my mother-in-law, Carmen. Her once brilliant spouse of 50-plus years was becoming more and more confused.

For months, she did her best to correct him. “Jack, that ‘nice young man’ who visited was Mike. Our son!” Trying to correct his thinking was an impossible task. Alzheimer’s is relentless. Logic and persuasion won’t fix it.

In time, our family realized it was best to go with the flow. Whatever Jack said, no matter how crazy it sounded, we humored him. Laughter helped us cope.

Jack had traveled a lot during his career, and once wheeled himself to the nurses’ station and asked when his flight was departing. A life-long smoker, he often “lit” and took drags on imaginary cigarettes. We all got a kick out of the woman on his unit who followed him around and fancied him her boyfriend.

God brought forth light from darkness. We can’t understand light without an awareness of darkness. The human experience is a balancing act. Sometimes we weep and sometimes we laugh. There’s good and there’s bad. A time for every purpose under heaven.

Today's Prayer:

Dear God, as we care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other serious illnesses, allow us to embrace laughter without guilt. Help us remember that humor is God-given, a way to help us cope. Amen.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts