Have you ever felt moody like you just wanted to cry, but instead wondered how to be funny so you wouldn’t depress those around you?
WEGO Health’s writing prompt is to write about something funny.
Hmmmm. . . Honestly? I am just dried up as far as humor for the moment, and I don’t know how to be funny for today’s post. In fact, the little bit of humor I had in the last few days I used up on my “descriptive story” post yesterday about how I ended up staying the night at the Bigfoot motel.
But we’re supposed to be choosing joy, right? (Didn’t someone just write about choosing joy only a few days ago? Yes, I know. I hate when I can’t tell an author how she hasn’t walked in my shoes–because the author is me.)
However, I am tired. I can’t share the details right now. Because–well–it involves someone else’s story, and I just wrote about that this week too– about how much I can share online about those I love when it is their story–not mine.
Perhaps that is funny in its own way? –That God has such a sense of humor threaded through the icky “stuff” in our life. I mean, I have never take on 30 blogs in 30 days before and it is quite daunting. And yet, those prompts that WEGO Health gave us–that have nothing to do with faith or our walk with God–have helped me see some perspective on my own circumstances this week.
Sometimes I wonder how we can not just choose joy, but insert it in our lives. How do we laugh with abandon as Dorothea shared earlier this week? How frequently do I get to use the phrase, “If I don’t laugh I will cry!”? I mean, that is a phrase you are supposed to say a few times a year. But I have bottled up so many tears in the last week I should be able to join Saturday Night Live tonight because I must be overflowing with giggles! — Not.
My son had an appointment yesterday–one he wasn’t eager to go to–and I told him he could wear his googly eye glasses if he wanted. He (maturely) chose not to, however, he had a good laugh at me as I stuck them on and walked around the house for a minute.
When was the last time you acted like a dork? It is pretty easy to do when your kid is with you? All I have to do is sing along to “Hey Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind” on the radio and he thinks I have lost it. But the kid doesn’t have that great of taste in music because He wouldn’t even slap his knee yesterday in the car as I belted out “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” with John Denver. Maybe blue grass isn’t his thing.
I have taught people to make a “JOY” box — a pretty box where you keep the things in it that bring you joy, make you laugh, even just create a little smile. I have given them as gifts. But have I done it for myself? No. And now that I really need to crack open such a box, I don’t have it. Encouraging emails are mixed in with work-related emails that easily distract me. Movies that make me laugh are at the bottom of a pile somewhere and someone else is watching TV anyway. I don’t want to make an effort.
I took a shower–but I put my pajamas back on. I have a sore throat, I didn’t sleep much, it rained all night and is supposed to rain more so I am having a longer-than-usual morning flare. –and I just haven’t decided what kind of day this is going to be yet. Painful? Not? A planning day? A relaxing day? Am I going to enjoy “the sweetness of doing nothing” like I advised us all to do just yesterday, or will I feel guilty if I am not accomplishing something?
Circumstances in my life make me feel sad right now. And like my life, outside it is either bright and sunny or the clouds move and the room turns so dark that I have to turn on a lamp. The shifting of the clouds make it bright and dark, back and forth, in my room as I type this. It’s like the sky is playing with my emotions.
Now it’s sunny, now it’s not. Now it’s sunny! Oh! You are in a good mood, watch this–cloud–y! Gotcha!
I need a great. . . big . . . rainbow in my life, ya know? I need a cheerful spirit. I need to hear God say, I’ve got in under control. It will be okay. . . it will be okay. . . it will be okay.
But what if it gets harder before it gets easier?
And why does it seem to keep getting harder. . . and harder?
Funny. I am supposed to be funny. Everyone tells me that I can make them laugh. I can share a medical story of mine, but I will always make sure you are laughing and slapping your knee (even without John Denver singing!) and telling me, “You are so funny! You have such a good attitude.” I will share what I need to, to get it off my chest, but I will make sure you don’t feel sorry for me even for a moment. My big personal space bubble is to always be a pity-free zone.
What the professionals say
If there is one thing I cannot make myself do, it’s to be funny. I can make myself laugh, smile–fake it if I need to, but how can you be funny when your heart is not in it? Well, Wikihow.com has a long list of tips on How To Be Funny, so I checked it out. In fact 131 “experts” worked on a whole list of ideas with 481 revisions, so we should be able to find some sound advice there, right?
According to this article, first I need to trust in my inner sense of humor. “What makes you funny is unique to you and the way you observe the world,” it says. Sometimes I observe it through cataracts, sometimes googly eye glasses, and sometimes through the script of the mother on the TV show “The Middle” played by Patricia Heaton. Evidently, if I think it’s funny, I should believe it really is. Ummm. But some things I think are hilarious at 2 AM aren’t funny at all at 10 AM. I’m not going to comment further on this one. I don’t trust my inner sense of discernment at the moment. I mean, I had bagels and lox for breakfast. Can you trust someone who eats raw fish at 8 AM?
Next, I need to think outside the box of what I would typically think about a situation. I try to do this to keep my outlook bright. As I explain in a video I did in 2010 on prednisone (which frankly I think is pretty funny and may be worth a laugh at my expense), when an umbrella has a tag that says, “One Size Fits All” you think, “I hope so! (See below)
And lastly, I need to expand my material (in other words, leave the house). There are days when you will find NOTHING FUNNY in your home. The spider in your shower doesn’t make you laugh, the bottle of salad dressing that fell out of the refrigerator and burst open all over the kitchen isn’t funny. The cat throwing up isn’t funny. And the 3 people who solicit at your front door are just–not–funny.
We have to get out. We have to go. And you never know where humor may appear. If you watch my prednisone video below you will see me explain just how funny it can be to simply go to the store and try on a belt.
What does scripture say about laughter?
Scripture tells us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. . . a time to weep and a time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4) . . . and a time to dance! I am an 80s child and I can’t help but hear Kevin Bacon reading this scripture from Footloose. Sorry.
“All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15) A feast! A feast (insert big smile here!) Psst! Hey, Lord, I am setting the table, okay?
We’ve all heard this one! “A cheerful heart is good medicine,” (Proverbs 17:22a) Finally a medicine that will give us some awesome side effects! I am just quoting the first half of the verse today. We all know the part about the dried up bones, right? I don’t feel like being depressed.
And this one is a good reminder for all of us. “A heart at peace gives life to the body,” (Proverbs 14:30). Ah, doesn’t that sound nice? Our bodies can certainly use life, renewal, refreshment!
Use humor with care
Humor is a tool we can use to keep us searching for that joy in life that we may otherwise set aside. We can hurt others with our humor, however, and we can put ourselves down and insult God’s masterpiece. We can block out the need to face life by making everything into a joke. Humor can quickly become a tool for destruction, rather than just a distraction.
Years ago, I left a church I dearly loved. The service had become one big challenge to make you laugh and entertain you. The announcements were given by local television media because they were “celebrities” who could tell a good story. The scripture reading had to be proceeded by a joke and followed up with a joke. The sermon had more jokes and stories than scripture or teaching. Everything had to be funny. Funny is good, but when I went to speak to the pastor and he asked why I was leaving I gently said, “There is nothing left in the church services that is holy.”
Is your humor constructive–or destructive?
We all need to laugh. We all need joy. And although I started out writing this post having no clue how I would find joy, I have discovered that God has blessed me with it at this moment. I have smiled as my fingers have touched the keys. I have seen God smile at my attempt to laugh–in a loving way. And as I finish this up the
sun Son has just come out again and lit up the room. (As I proofed my article, I had “accidentally” used the word son instead of “sun” in the last sentence. Yep, God knows what He is doing.
Do you need a little laugh today? I recorded this video when I spoke at a church in 2010 and was feeling a bit frustrated with my weight gain. I hope it makes you smile.