“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” ~ Victor Borge
I have to admit that there is something that I do almost every time when I go to the funeral home for a wake service. Unless the situation warrants otherwise, I do my best at the very beginning of the brief homily to make the people laugh. I also do that at the funeral Mass. The reason? Quite simply, laughter is a great diffuser. You can practically see scissors cutting the tension in the air. It helps people to focus. It gives them a release from all the tension that they may have bottled up inside.
Professional comedians know this. Their routines include things that are happening in our society and in our world that some might say is risky. However, they get their laughs. It is because the audience is thinking about all the things that are being presented. However, their thoughts often tie them up in knots inside. The comedian, by his or her jokes, untangles those knots and helps people to feel less tense and more focused in their own lives.
Borge’s quote, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people”, is so very true. Laughter can bring people closer together, can diffuse tense situations, and can highlight the similarities that different people or different groups have.
Not only does laughter diffuse tension, it also heals people. It modulates blood pressure, gives people a more positive outlook on life, and helps people feel more normal. Laughing at situations that we have no control over helps us to accept our powerlessness. Laughing at ourselves helps us to be humble.
FAITH ACTION: Find a reason to laugh today and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.