Humor isn’t for everyone?! “I realize that humor isn’t for everyone. It’s only for people who want to have fun, enjoy life, and feel alive.” Anne Wilson Schaef.
Walking through a shop in Saugatak Michigan. My wife saw a card and tried to show it to me. Funny thing is, the print was so small I couldn’t read it – needed my cheaters. She took a picture of it and I could read it later with my glasses on! It’s a quote about what I’m after – about “coming alive.” One of the ways to come alive is to laugh, to lighten up and live and not take life so seriously. Believe it or not, that can be hard to do.
It can be hard to do when we regret the past, when we’re worried about the future and when we’re not living the life we’ve wanted or envisioned. When misery keeps us company along with sadness it’s hard to get out of the funk and to see the humor and to laugh. It’s the “Eeyore syndrome” – it feels like walking around with a dark cloud over us all the time. When it feels like a “dark night of the soul,” nothing seems funny. And it can be hard to even look up, look others in the eye and engage in conversation. Some of us have practiced seriousness for such a long time, it’s a well worn groove in the record player of our souls that results in a sadness and sorrow that is just so hard to get out of. I can deeply identify with Longellow who said:
“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
But maybe, just maybe there’s something to the word “ANYWAYS.” Finding the humor “anyways,” laughing “anyways,” smiling “anyways.” Seeing the absolute absurdity in our depression, in our sadness, in our dark night, in our grief. For we have simply lost our perspective, forgotten who we really are, who God really is and that someday we’ll see that all things are not only well and forevermore shall ever be. But they are well even right now in this moment. We’ve just forgotten.
So I see humor as one of the most important spiritual habits we could ever cultivate. Because life is to important to take seriously. And as theologian Reinhold Niebuhr said,
“Humor is the prelude to faith, and laughter is the beginning of prayer.”
So let me find the humor, let me laugh until I cry DESPITE IT ALL, NEVERTHELESS, NONETHELESS to find life even in the midst of it. Perspective. Eternal perspective within it all. For when I’m humorous, I have faith. And when I laugh I’m even praying from my true self with all my soul with eternal perspective and not a care in the world – which is what that world will be and already is, if I could just tap into it here and now with my humor and laughter and remember that truth.
It’s hard to do this. Yes, it’s hard. If everyone was doing it everyone would be truly happy and alive and most aren’t. But this quote reminds me that humor as one of the most important spiritual habits I could ever cultivate.
(A disclaimer needed? If you’re currently grieving, have experienced loss and tragedy in some way, do your grief work and do it well. Enter the pain, the pit and the darkness – it’s the only way through. But when that day comes, maybe long into the future, and you feel your soul stirring to come alive again after and in spite of all the sorrow and pain you’ve experienced.)
A prayer: Change me O God. Help me to find the humor, to laugh, to be silly and stupid. I’m too serious for my own good. But with your help I can let go. Evolve me out of my sadness, seriousness and sorrow for your sake, for my sake and for the world’s sake. Save me in, with and through humor, laughter and lightness.