It's not just a matter of laughing at things that are obviously funny. She (and I) are inclined to find things humorous in the most serious of settings. During Sunday School, in the middle of a church service, while our whole family is trying to fall asleep while crammed into a small living space on vacation. You name it, we've laughed there.
There's a Barenaked Ladies song with the lyrics, "I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral."
That's us. (But trust me, if it's a funeral, we'll be laughing through tears because, by golly, I inherited the waterworks from her too.)
We don't do it to be irreverent. Maybe it's a coping mechanism. Maybe we're just awesome at finding the funny in un-funny situations. Maybe we just like to laugh. Perhaps a combo of all of the above. Whatever the reason, I love "getting the giggles," as my mom so aptly calls it.
I can remember so many times growing up when we got tickled and just couldn't get a hold of it. I think trying to get a hold of it makes it ten times harder. I remember an instance when my dad was serving the Lord's Supper at a Christmas Eve service and as he handed a tray to the first man in the pew, the guy dropped it on the floor. Crackers went everywhere. He looked up at my dad in sheer terror and began apologizing profusely. My mom and I took one look at each other and busted out laughing. That poor man.
Almost every time we would lay down to go to sleep while visiting my grandparents house, my parents on the pull-out sofa, my sister on the other sofa, and me on the loveseat, someone would start giggling, then it was like a domino effect. All three of us girls were laughing and no one even knew why. My dad would either shake his head because he had no idea what was going on or continue snoring completely oblivious to the utter nonsense going on around him.
I don't live with my mom anymore, and my kids are not quite as prone to laugh as I was as a child, but I have not stopped getting the giggles. Sam's a good sport about it. (Sometimes he even giggles with me.) I'm keeping my fingers crossed Leah will be my giggling cohort.
As always, I don't know what the cause of my riotous, uncontrollable laughter is, but here lately, I have been a laughing fool. To see if I'm actually just a fool or if any of it is a little bit funny to anyone else, I've recorded some of the things that tickled me for
1. (While eavesdropping on pretend play going on in the playroom)
Abby: Dr. Jefferson, this baby has a heartbeat! What should I do?
Sarah: 'sigh' Hold on. I'll be with you in a minute! (impatiently) Here. (hands Abby a stethoscope) Use this. But give it back.
She nailed it! Bedside manner of a seasoned doctor executed perfectly. But my favorite part is that Abby called her Dr. Jefferson. And that, for some reason, it was concerning that her baby had a heartbeat.
2. I let Sarah taste a little French Vanilla coffee syrup. She immediately replied, "Yum!" I asked her what she thought it tasted like expecting her to say something like cupcake or cookie. She said, "It tastes like...casserole."
Clearly, she has no idea what casserole, of any variety, tastes like.
3. At Bible time the other night, as a prelude to the story of Jacob getting all of Laban's sheep, Sam told a story about some boys who asked permission to fish in a greedy man's pond. They asked if they could keep whatever they caught and the haughty man chortled and said, "Sure." The boys caught every fish in the pond and took them home. To see if the kids were listening, Sam asked, "What do you think the pond owner said when he realized those boys had gotten all the fish out of his pond?"
Sarah replied, without hesitation, "Praise the Lord."
Sam looked taken aback and said something like, "Uhhh...maybe. But probably not." I, of course, died laughing. But it didn't stop there. She followed it up with, "Did those boys carry the fish in their necks?" (We think she meant "nets.") My active imagination conjured up a vision of two boys shoving a pond full of fish into their necks and walking away with them saying something like, "Why carry them with our hands when we can put them in our necks?" to each other. I was no good.
4. The other day as Ben sat at the kitchen table trying to do his math work and Leah made her rounds of terror around the kitchen, Ben stoically started narrating her actions as a series of steps. By the time he got to "Make weird noises," I was laughing, but he put me over the edge with Step 10 (luckily, that was not live, and he was pulling from memory some of her antics because my laughter was encouraging him).
Step 1: Eat muddy shoes.
Step 2: Wrap yourself up in a blanket.
Step 3: Cry.
Step 4: Poop.
Step 5: Tear magnets off the refrigerator.
Step 6: Dump out the cookie cutters.
Step 7: Make weird noises.
Step 8: Destroy everything you see.
Step 9: Get into everything.
Step 10: Suck on your fingers covered in toilet water.
Step 11: Smash your fingers in the door trying to close it.
Step 12: Eat something you're not supposed to, and poop it out.
Step 13: Take Mommy's underwear out of the clean clothes pile and carry it around the house.
Step 14: Throw the rocks out of the fireplace.
I have to guard myself sometimes because my kids can be sensitive to being laughed at. They don't understand that this girl cannot control herself sometimes. It's a good exercise in restraint because there is a time for everything. And it is not always appropriate to laugh. Just most of the time.
Wouldn't you rather be laughing than crying?
We all get in dark places sometimes, and I think it's because we let our thoughts of dark things consume us. We should be holding our thoughts captive. We don't have to deny that there are troubles in this life, but we shouldn't be dwelling on them. I've got a challenge for us all today.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. ~Philippians 4:8Let's concentrate on the noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy things. Even if it feels like we have to look hard and start small, let's do this. Today.
Let's, maybe even, try laughing. I think nine times out of ten, it's not delirium or a coping mechanism, it's just joy.
Out of the overflow of the mouth, the heart speaks. Matthew 12:34