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Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Reason to Laugh

Stop and Laugh With Me
(you may want to bear with me in this…there is eventually a point!)

(This cartoon copyrights owned by PEANUTS Worldwide LLC)

Somebody once asked why I chose to use a devotional format for my books.  And there are lots of reasons, but one of the main one is that I have used devotional guides myself of one sort or another for over 30 years, and have found that time to stop, reflect and listen to be invaluable in my life.  Lately, I have included in my routines reading through some old copies of Guideposts I have picked up in thrift stores here and there, and had a particularly funny story told by Mark Collins in the 2011 edition.  With my own retelling, the story goes like this:

A man was visiting a loved one dying in the hospital, and as they visited was reminded that so many times that loved one had told the man that when he thought about dying, he had always wanted to die in his sleep like his great grandfather.  He did NOT want to die screaming and squirming and scared like all the people who were in the back of his great grandfather’s stagecoach when he drove it over the cliff! 

Or how about some old lame ones?  Like the man who told his friend that there was something wrong, because everywhere he looked, he was always seeing spots.  His friend asked if he had seen the doctor.  “No, just spots!”

Or the man who DID go to the doctor because of a pain in his arm.  When the doctor asked him what was the matter, he replied as he raised his elbow to shoulder level, “Doc, it hurts when I do this.”  And the doctor, of course said, “Then don’t do that.”

Okay, how about a couple of my favorites, then. 

Like the one about the blonde woman (sorry blondes, I tried to rewrite it, but it just doesn’t work as well) who hopped onto the Paris-bound plane in New York, and plopped right down in a First Class seat.  The flight was full, and as the attendants were checking people’s seating, she was advised that her ticket was for coach and she would have to move to a different seat.  The lady replied, “I’m blonde, I’m going to Paris, and I’m going to sit in first class. 

When she could not get the lady to move, she went up and got help.  The head steward came and said, “Ma’am, I’ve been informed you are in the wrong seat.  What seems to be the problem?”  She replied, “There’s no problem.  You see, I’m blonde, I’m going to Paris and I’m going to sit in first class.”  Unable to get a change, no matter who talked to her, and yet unable to depart until the seating problem was rectified, they finally brought in the captain.  They explained the situation to him, including her stubbornness, and so he went back to her seat, identified her as the lady in question, then leaned over and whispered into her ear.  She instantly hopped up and ran back to her seat back in the coach section at the back of the plane.  Mystified, the crew gathered around the captain and asked, “What did you say to her that got her to move?”  He smiled, and replied, “I simply told her that first class wasn’t going to Paris.”

Then there is the one about the braggart who claimed to be a great bear hunter, especially of grizzlies.  He had bragged all the way up to the remote cabin as he and his friends headed out on their hunting trip.  They, of course, mocked his arrogance, and it was clear to him they didn’t believe him.  And so, as they arrived, he bragged to them, “I tell you what, you guys go unpack everything, and I will do all the KP all week if I can’t get a bear before you are unpacked.”  Sounding like a sure thing, they took the bet. 

So the man disappeared out the door, and they started unpacking.  They weren’t very far along in the process when they suddenly heard the front door open, and saw the man rush in and hide behind the door.  A few seconds later, an angry grizzly came bounding into the cabin.  The man suddenly jumped from behind the door, and as he headed out to the porch, they heard him say, “You guys get this one skinned and I’ll be back with another in 15 minutes.”

I particularly enjoy Far Side and Peanuts cartoons.  A couple of my favorite Peanuts cartoons, as I recall them, are when Linus is walking around proclaiming how much he loves mankind, over and over again.  The ridiculous statement is challenged by one of the other kids, and Linus replies, I “LOVE mankind.  It’s people I can’t stand.”  And the other, also involving Linus, has him walking into the room all spruced up and looking fine, showing off his new clothes.  As he leaves the room, Lucy (I think) yells after him, “Hey, you forgot to polish the back of your shoes.”  And Linus replies, “I didn’t forget.  I only care what impression I make when I walk into the room.  I don’t care what they think when I leave!”  I think Charles Schulz is one of the great writers of our age, I really do. 

Why have I put all this out here?  Because one of the really tough areas of divorce, as well as a challenge we experience when we are dealing with times of high stress, is the great tension that exists internally.  In divorce, that tension is often accompanied by an overwhelming sadness.  

I lost a dear aunt who passed away recently, one of my prayer partner aunts.  During the times of my divorce, one of her wise words to me was to find something each day that can bring a smile to my face.  She knew scriptures such as these: 

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”---Proverbs 17:22 ESV
“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.”---
Job 8:21  ESV
In the midst of the heartache and struggles, something that brings a smile is, indeed, good medicine.  And it is a very promising thing to hear that laughter will one day return.  If you are a person struggling these days for whatever reasons, perhaps this blog will have brought a little laughter…or maybe a groan…to lift your spirits just a bit.  I encourage you to supplement it with additional items of your own that bring laughter and joy to your world.  God knows that there are plenty of things to bring you down!

TL:dr  Sharing some humor with the advice that laughter is a good antidote to heaviness of heart. 

BTW:  Right now, we have a special offer on both volumes of Finding God at our website:  findinggoddevotionals

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