Hospital chaplain inspires comfort by keeping it all smiles

LIBERTY, Missouri - The best and worst moments of life happen within the walls of a hospital. Chaplain Steve Smith knows people expect bad news when he comes. He loves to laugh but doesn’t take the grave situations he sees everyday lightly.

“We work in a very serious business. I am very serious, but I am also very serious about humor.”

Walking in to a patient room, none of the nurses or the patient are surprised to see Chaplain Smith in a suit, tie, and rainbow-colored hat that reminds me of Dr. Suess.

“How are we feeling today?” he asks the patient. She fell down a flight of stairs and broke both arms. “I’m alright,” she answers.

“Well does this help?” Smith says as he puts the colorful hat on his head.

The patient’s eyes laugh and she nods with a smile.

“Why does sacred have to be somber?” He says. Keeping it light when he can, he adds. “I usually tell people my job is to hatch ‘em, match ‘em and dispatch ‘em.”

The certified laugh leader walked us through six different kinds of laughs he has taught to sometimes hundreds while speaking across the country.

Laughter, he says, can help heal by shortening hospital visits. Laughter increases blood flow, uses muscles and elevates your mood. Ten minutes of deep belly laughing, Smith says, can even replace 30 minutes on the treadmill! 

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