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At some point in our conversation, he laughed at something I said. That led me to think about telling him that I was sort of a comedian and that I performed impersonations. He seemed interested and his wife chimed in and asked if I did an impersonation of Jonathan Winters. I immediately went into the Winters' character of Maude Frichert. I saw a faint smile begin to change his stern expression and then he laughed. He loved the impersonation and laughed at every punch line. Later, as his wife showed me to the door, she said, "you know, Al, it's been a long time since I've seen my husband smile like that."

I'm continually being reminded that even people who are very ill have the capacity and also the desire to laugh. More than that, laughter seems to be a way to seize a measure of joy for the present tense, for this day.

My Clinical Pastoral Education training did not teach me to be humorous in visits to patients, however, through the years I've come embrace this ability as a potentail gift to those lives are affected by emotional or physical maladies.

View my Laughter is the Best Medicine video.