And Now, The Fish Slapping Dance

Giggles

Gentle Reader,

My house is a disaster. Really. We’re down to the last room in the Grand Epic of Replacing the Floor, which means everything in my bedroom has been shoved into the guest room and everything in the guest room has been shoved into what passes for an office (that nobody ever uses) and there is detritus everywhere. The dogs can’t figure out what’s happening to their environment; in protest of the disruption, they knock over bathroom wastebaskets and generally behave badly.

I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or decamp to the nearest cheap motel.

Attempting to see the humor seems the best choice.

Did you know that Christians aren’t supposed to have a sense of humor, though? I didn’t until recently. Again, belatedly I learn that I have been doing my life all wrong. Must have lost the instruction manual. Apparently we are supposed to be deeply serious people, always and ever concerned with ruining everybody’s good time.

How sad.

Jesus went to parties, you know. As in, He was invited to parties all the time and saw no need to avoid them. Heaven certainly sounds like it’s going to be a gigantic, forever-long party, full of light, laughter and good food. For what is being in the presence of God if not happiness? If not constant smiling?

Is life serious? Of course it is. It’s also absurd. A friend texted me a couple of hours ago, relaying a story she’d seen on the news of a man who broke into a house and began doing laundry. Not his laundry. The laundry that belongs to the people whose house he broke into. Yes, theft is a sin, but that’s funny. What sort of burglar thinks, “You know, I’ll just do some washing up for these fine folks that I’m robbing?”

There are two sides to my personality; one is very serious, dark and afraid, the other ever-amused and struggling to hold back giggles at inappropriate moments. This particular blend is what it is. At nearly 34, I’ve about given up on attempting to reconcile how I can, at the same time, be both numbingly anxious and laughing so hard tears spring to my eyes. That is, I suppose, humanity.

I believe in learning, study, contemplation. I also believe in a good pie to the face. I don’t think God minds a good joke. In fact, I think He laughs. Give yourself permission to do the same. Allow yourself to see the funny, the farcical. Perhaps, in so doing, the proverbial silver lining is found.

William Makepeace Thackeray (one of the best names ever) wrote in his novel Vanity Fair,

The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion.

When I frown at the world, when I dwell on all that makes me sad and scared, I find more things to be sad and scared about. When I do the work of looking up and smiling (for it is work, as all choices are), I find more things to smile about. That’s not pop psychology or self-help babble, nor is that a substitute for medication or therapy, if needed. (Real talk: I am beginning to become annoyed at having to place this disclaimer in my writing so often. I wish that anyone who ever reads here would simply, somehow, know what my position is and that I’d never have to state it again). It’s taking ownership of our thoughts an attitudes, something we are advised to do throughout Scripture.

And now, The Fish Slapping Dance. Not because it means anything. Not because it must be analyzed. Because it’s 17 seconds of sheer, unbridled silliness. It’s okay to giggle over this and promptly replay.

Bonus content: The Spanish Inquisition compilation. (Yes, I love Monty Python and yes, Michael Palin is my favorite. Some of my fondest memories involve acting out absurd, stupid sketches with old friends, both original and ones that we blatantly stole from this British comedy troupe. Please don’t sue us, gents. We have no money).

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Five Minute Friday: Dare

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Gentle Reader,

‘Tis the time. The five minute time. The (kind of) Friday time. It’s Kate. It’s the crew.

It’s a: dare.

Go.

I have many sweet memories involving my teen-aged girlfriends. We’d all pile into someone’s room, or a tent in the backyard, and giggle over girlish things until the wee hours of the morning. Or until a parent yelled at us. We’d eat ourselves into a sugar- and pizza-coma.

It was beautiful.

One hot, sticky, early-autumn evening, we were squashed in that tent, sharing secrets and gushing over a certain older boy we all had a crush on. And, of course, we played “Truth or Dare.” It escalated. It always escalated. The gal whose house we were staying at had one of those wonderful creatures known as a cute boy next door. So, naturally, we tried to get his attention all evening.

And then someone dared me to run around the tent. In my pajamas.

I did it.

It was awesome.

We squealed with laughter and wondered if he’d seen me.

I wonder what happened to that girl. When did she get so bogged down with worries? What happened to the girl who would run barefoot through sprinkler-soaked grass while her friends smothered their faces in pillows to keep from screaming?  Her stride was confident, her smile easy and free.

I want to find her again.

Stop.

I really do what to find her again. I want to find the part of myself that was able to let go of cares. Maybe that’s why I’ve been watching and listening to so much comedy lately. It’s a heavy world these days and I just want to get a little lighter. Feel a little brighter.

I’m thinking that maybe you, dear one, want that, too.

So, a challenge. Have some fun tomorrow! Do something, eat something, watch something, listen to something, sing something, read something that brings a smile to your face. Just because. Don’t think about calories or schedules or the “should’s.” Find a little slice of blessing in this here place and devour it. Soak it up with gusto.

And know that the Lord sent it to you.

My journey to faith. (15)