For years I thought that when I matured spiritually I would stop (or greatly curtail) telling funny stories to my audiences and would, instead, exegete the Word like a sharp two-edged sword, tossing in timely definitions of Greek or Hebrew words whilst sharing deep insights gleaned from my hours of religious reverie.
Ya right! I’m still waiting for that “maturity” to take root.
And my audiences are still laughing. And are incredibly grateful I haven’t “grown up” yet. They tell me there are plenty of reasons to cry, there is an endless barrage of discouragement, there is suffering galore; so once in a while it’s great to just laugh!
I am taking a Christian Classics course at our local seminary that began last week with Homer (circa 750 B.C) whose “definitive condition of life was not peace but battle.” From Homer to Herodotus and his History of the Persian Wars — more bloodshed. And then we encounter the triumvirate of tragedians in Sophocles, Euripides, and Aeschylus! Enough already!
Imagine how relieved I was to arrive at Aristophanes, who wrote comedies (circa 400 B.C.) “Aristophanes was the first to see the full implications of comedy–to recognize that the comic imagination is essential in the movement toward hope and love. …those who choose a comic sprightliness and optimism in difficult situations are thereby enabled to renounce self-absorption and hence to endure and prevail.” (Invitation to the Classics) In other words, laughter takes the focus off “me and my big problems” and helps us make it through hard times.
All those years I was trying to grow up” and “get spiritual” God was telling me to use my gift of humour to bring encouragement, laughter, and hope. I recently crowd-sourced (first time I’ve used that hip word!) my Facebook friends and asked advice for an upcoming retreat for pastor’s wives.
I got some great feedback, including this: I was at a retreat that you put on for our women’s ministry, and honestly Connie it was the best retreat for me because of your speaking! We laughed so much and I still talk about it to this day. (My husband was executive pastor to that church). So I say – do that same one- where u have woven a story throughout all the sessions . One of your ending lines was “Connie it’s a miracle” , stated by your husband. LOL. Women need laughter and something to take to heart, you definitely deliver! Thank you!
You might not be a speaker or leader or teacher but you are certainly a friend. Let God use your sense of humour to infuse difficult situations with hope. I have a friend at church whose husband works overseas for months at a time. While he was away, she discovered she had breast cancer. She asked me to accompany her to see the oncologist where we heard the words no woman wants to hear: breast cancer, mastectomy.
We laughed a lot that day.
Why? Because I can’t help it! I see humour (its called “dark comedy”) in life’s situations. And my friend has a great sense of humour too. On one of her texts to me after her season of surgical removal, implantation, and reduction she described her new look as “my designer boobs.” That made me LOL!
Sometimes our friends need us to talk to them, sometimes they need us to be quiet and listen, sometimes the best thing we can do is cry with them, but occasionally what a friend needs most is a good belly laugh. If you can’t come up with something yourself, do an online search for clean humour (or humor, dear American friends). Pour out your favourite libation (hot tea for me!) and let the gift of shared laughter lighten the load, elevate the mood, and help heal the wounded heart.