A Smile or a Laugh to Serve All Life

By Harold Klemp

This story is about Mary. She was a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT), working out in the country where there was a long drive to the hospital.

The EMTs have a difficult job. Their task is to figure out how they can help the patient. Sometimes the patients are in great pain. The EMTs get them aboard the ambulance and check the vital signs like temperature, pulse, and blood pressure.

Mary would chat with patients and try to cheer them up in some way, see if she could just help them feel better. Maybe they would think less about their own situation.

She noticed that if the patient smiled or laughed at some of her chatter, there was usually an improvement in the vital signs. Sometimes the pulse, the heartbeat, would go back toward normal. Sometimes even the pain would lessen.

And once in a while the patient would say, “OK, I feel pretty good now. I think we can go back home. Let’s turn around.” She said, “Of course we never did.” Once the wheels are set in motion, they’re not turning around for anything. There are people waiting on the other end.

Mary said the whole thing that she was involved with was love. She realized that laughter, smiling, and humor show love. All these things simply show love.

Excerpted from The Master’s Talks in The Year of Light and Sound—2013–14.

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