Minister’s Reflection – Aug. 14,19
Rev. Dave Crawford
I’m not even going to used their names! If you’re my age, or older, you know instantly who these people are and why you’re probably grinning just looking at the photo. One of the top tv. variety shows of the 70’s, these three were the main talents on that show and arguably the biggest laugh-getters. What joy they brought so many!
Last week I arrived at a major life decision – I closed my Facebook account and switched to Twitter (sarcasm intended). An unanticipated gift or blessing in this social media switch has been the abundance of humor found on Twitter. Facebook was fine but ultimately I found it a bit too confining, too politically correct. Twitter’s a free for all! Yes, folks can be caustic, rude, and accusatory, so selective Twitter browsing is essential, but people say some funny things. I can find satire there and lots of sarcasm, great one-liners, funny vid clips, and just lots of folks who want to make you laugh! And don’t we need to laugh, these days, laugh a lot, laugh fully and boisterously?!
I’ve always enjoyed Betty White? She was outstanding on the Mary Tyler Moore show in the 70’s, then the Golden Girls in the 80’s, and while her schedule may have slowed down these past few years (she’s 96 years old!), she’s still highly regarded as a comedic actress/genius. She once commented: “It’s your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don’t take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humor in our everyday lives. Sometimes humor can be a lifesaver.” How true.
I believe I’ve commented on this before but let me repeat that I believe intentional laughter is soul care! In other words we ought not just wait for someone or some situation to bring us laughter. Rather, just as we would go for a walk to get our leg and back muscles moving, boost the cardio, kickstart the endorphins, so too, I believe, we ought to plan for laughter, make ourselves laugh. Did you know that in Japan there are laughing self-help groups whose only purpose is laughter? They come together. They laugh. They feel better. They disperse. Do we have that in Canada? I don’t know but what I do know is life can get pretty serious, the world itself caught up in all sorts of predicaments and tragedies and worse! We need to laugh, frequently if possible.
As you know I watch reruns of The Office (although it went sharply downhill at Season 7), Curb your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, but a new habit is The Late Show with Steven Colbert. His nightly monologues, usually filled with commentary on the daily Trump Tweets and Biden gaffes, is hilarious. I watch it before sleeping. It feels good. That’s what I do. What about you? How frequently do you laugh? Do you try to manipulate your own laughter? I guess that’s why sitcoms and stand-up comics, cartoons and jokes exist! Do we take advantage of the opportunities available to us to laugh?
Friends, even a theologian like Reinhold Niebuhr saw the importance of humor: “Humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer.” St. Thomas Aquinas suggested: “It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.” Proverbs 17:22 puts it this way: “A merry heart is good medicine; but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.”