What is the most consistent component found in grounded leaders who handle personally/help others navigate stress effectively? I am finding, as I read and interact with those doing so on a large scale over the long haul, it really boils down to one word-HUMOR! (Incidentally I happen to be writing this post while my sons are watching classic, black-and-white Little Rascals reruns with intermittent guttural giggles…a key component of our family life.)
Here are a few insightful quotes that are helping me navigate the stressors in my life and ministry right now:
- “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.” ~Henry Ward Beecher
- “The closest distance between two people is a good laugh.” (Here’s a post inspired by this fortune cookie quote.)
- “No mind is thoroughly well organized that is deficient in a sense of humor.” ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- “Celebrate your successes. Find some humor in your failures.” ~Sam Walton
- “A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” ~William Arthur Ward
- “Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.” ~Langston Hughes
- “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” ~Charlie Chaplin
- “A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder
- “It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously.” ~Oscar Wilde
- “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” ~Dwight D. Eisenhower
- “Next to power without honor, the most dangerous thing in the world is power without humor.” ~Eric Sevareid
- “Total absence of humor renders life impossible.” ~Colette
While we are not referring to the crude, slapstick fare of late night TV, truly “All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast” (Pr 15:15).
May I encourage you to join me in not taking ourselves so seriously and learn to laugh at yourself, a sign of sustaining maturity. Look for opportunities to share laughter with those around you with whom you already share frequent tension and discouragement. You can cry or laugh…and I am finding that the bust-a-gut tears of the latter are often much more not only cathartic but sanctified in their effect.