I love to laugh. There is nothing better than the laughter that hurts my sides and makes me sore. This is most of my Friday nights! I love to be with people who make me laugh! Why do we love to laugh? We are told in Proverbs 17: 22, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” According to Google, “Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.” I think we all need laughter.
At the beginning of Covid, God laid some people on my heart. Those who are high risk and need to quarantine or isolate themselves. Galatians 6: 2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” My uncle had just moved to this facility and has some dementia. It hurt me to think that at times he does not understand why we are not there. Or why he cannot come outside. Or why we hold up signs. I thought of all of the people at my church who were not getting out. People who I know love to laugh and be with people. So I decided to mail them jokes to make sure they keep laughing! The letter also includes Scripture to think on. I had no idea I would still be sending these letters! I get handwritten letters from some of these friends thanking me for writing them a letter! This little thing has meant so much to more than I know. God can take a little thing and turn it into so much more!
My mom and I visited my uncle who is living in a facility about an hour away. It was the first time since March that we got to see him in person, not holding signs up through a glass door. One of the staff was talking with me and I mentioned that I mail him a letter once a week. She stopped me mid sentence and asked, “are you the one who sends him the jokes and Bible verse?” I told her yes and then she blew my mind! She said after he reads the letter he takes it to the staff and passes it around. Then they share with the residents. She said, “you have no idea how many people read your letter!” There is a lady in her 90’s whose family cannot visit and she said this is the only thing she can count on every week. I don't even know that lady! When I got home I had this email from the staff person. “I just wanted to take a moment and say “THANK YOU” to Jill. Every week. she sends a family member a devotion and Christian jokes. After he reads them he passes it around to other residents and to the staff . Everyone gets so excited when the mail comes. One of our residents has said many times this is one thing she knows she can look forward to. THANK YOU Jill for all your words of encouragement and the jokes. Laughter is the best medicine.”
I have learned several lessons through this “ministry”. God can lay the smallest task on your heart and He can make it wonderful! I cannot believe how many people this reaches. I have heard some of my friends pass the letters on to their friends and family. Some say they call family every week to share the jokes. I email a few and I am told they forward the emails to others. When we are obedient to God, look what big things He can do with our little things! Ephesians 3: 20, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…”
We need to encourage others! Hebrews 10: 24-25, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 11, “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” When we encourage others, we are also encouraged in the process.
The other lesson learned is the blessing we always receive when trying to bless someone else! I have made new friends with people I have never met! The friends that I do not get to see right now, we are even closer because we keep in touch! All are in my prayers every Monday as I address their envelope. They are my friends and they are a blessing to me!