There’s a great little poem, "Success," written in 1904 by American writer Bessie Anderson Stanley. It starts with the words, "He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much."
That quote likely would have fallen on deaf ears of mine during college, when I defined success by how high I could climb in my career and how much cash was stacking up along the way.
Yet as life experience has taught me, Ms. Stanley knew what was truly important. Applying her simple yet profound formula for success, I’m pleased to know that I’ve amassed substantial riches over the years -- none of which involve bank accounts.
Regarding laughter, my fortune can be traced back to growing up in a large, boisterous Italian brood that made humor a staple at the dinner table and other family gatherings. In my present family life, my wife laughs easily and often, which is among her most endearing qualities. All three of our kids know the joy of frequent laughter as well.
To borrow from Reader’s Digest, laughter really is the best medicine. Think about when you’ve been having a bad day and your spirits were suddenly lifted up by a good, hearty laugh. Laughter in my life is a privilege I no longer take for granted, but now consider a precious gift from God.
Not much can be found in the Bible about laughter and humor, but I’d like to think that Jesus and his apostles enjoyed an occasional chuckle while conducting their ministry and would approve of us doing likewise. When the humor is in good taste and not harmful to anyone, I see a definite link between laughing often, living well and -- most importantly -- being able to "love much."