See You in the Funny Papers

Have you ever laughed so hard you snorted milk out of your nose? Or peed a little?

You know the laugh I’m talking about. Not the pretty one that’s totally acceptable for social interactions. The belly laugh you have zero control over. The one people join in laughing at because it’s so funny. The unique one that gives a glimpse of who you really are, deep down to your toes.

Yes, our stories are filled with pain. They bring tears and empathy, soft hands on shoulders and quiet whispers of hope.

But, oh, there’s laughter, too.

I’ll admit: I’m so much more attuned to the deep, serious things of the earth than I am the lighthearted joy of God. I can hunt for a pearl of truth in the darkest disaster, but I can’t remember the last funny thing that happened to me. It’s like I’ve become vastly more at home in sorrow than in gladness.

Maybe it’s time to lighten up as I re-member these stories of mine. Fleshing out the full, vibrant laughter of moments doesn’t detract from the Lord’s hard work in me. I’d argue that it might even evidence the Lord’s hard work in me.

So let me practice?

I turned over in bed. Again. I tend to sleep like a ninja, if that ninja drooled and had horrendous breath and didn’t care about stealth. So I should rephrase for accuracy: I tend to sleep like a sloth.

Anyway, I turned over in bed. And my groggy brain thinks, “You should straighten your undies. You know, because if you don’t, the elastic will cut off the circulation there, and your left leg will go dumb.”

Not numb. Dumb. My poor, sleepy brain.

Well, half of my brain was poor and sleepy. The other half, which took complete advantage of the situation, was alert and sarcastic. It giggled and drew a picture of me, labeling one stick leg dumb and the other stick leg clever.

This is what it’s like to be in my head, friends. No need to wonder exactly why I am the way I am.

I feel like there’s a certain amount of maturity that comes with being able to tattletale on yourself for the sake of spreading joy to others. (Not that I’m Miss Fabulous now. This practice is hard for me, and I kind of hate it.) But, you know, for other people.

As I learn to release control, though, and the need to appear incredibly worth listening to (or reading) all. the. stinking. time., I’m seeing the tiniest bit of freedom in inviting laughter at my ego’s expense. Not mean laughter, not ungodly laughter. Just a grace-saturated, humbling chuckle at what is genuinely funny. There’s an old proverb that says, “Shared joy is a double-joy. Shared sorrow is a half-sorrow.”

There is so much hard in this world. Surely my heart could survive a bit of ribbing, all in good fun, for the sake of planting joy.*

Let’s share our hilarity just as we share our griefs. It’s story time.

And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.”

(Genesis 21:6)

*Don’t call me Shirley.

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