Humor and Pain!
The apex of God’s creation is humanity. The narrowing of focus in the Genesis account clearly makes that point that all of this is for the apple of God’s eye—men and women, boys and girls. There is great debate concerning the essence of the image of God in the human being, but there is no debate over the specialness of humanity. We are different from the animal world in many ways, but the one on my mind today is our ability to gain perspective. As one of my seminary professors use to say, “Dogs are aware; they are just not aware that they are aware.” Animals cannot step outside of themselves in the sophisticated and multi-varied ways we can.
This is a special gift from God with varied and multiple dimensions.
A significant part of this ability to step away from ourselves to see and consider ourselves is the common human experience of humor. Apart from the funny papers, dogs don’t make jokes. Humor is good for us. Researchers tell us that laughing is good for the soul, our health, and even our relationships.
One way Judy and I have seen the benefit in humor was the way we found something to laugh about during the most tragic moments and experiences of our lives. Like my friend Dave Burchett writes in his cutting edge blog, Confessions of a Bad Christian (www.daveburchett.com), when he and his dear wife Joni faced the trauma of chemotherapy for her breast cancer, it helped to call it the “Slow-Drip Spa”.
Here are some of the “lighter moments” that carried Judy and me through the worst days of my battle with this disease:
As we vacuumed up my skin for the ninetieth time in a day in 2000 we often sang the tune “All of Me” as we inserted some of our own lyrics. “All of me, try to vacuum up all of me. Look at me, all over the floor.”
Sometimes I would break into a commercial plug for the Oreck vacuum cleaner we bought the last time I faced this because we wore out every other vacuum trying to keep up with my skin sheedng. “This is my Oreck Vacuum. I find it best for vacuuming up myself. It is light, except that this one, though originally only 8 pounds now weighs thirteen pounds, but seven of that is me!”
Taking steroids that are for the very sick and not at all like the steroids athletes take gave me ample opportunity to pose in my best “Arnold Body Builder” pose (Judy being the only witness to these episodes) I would flex and look at my swollen, disfigured, and spotted body saying, “I vill pump you up!”
Halloween week gave me great opportunity to make light of my condition. “What are you going to be for Halloween, Ed?” “I’m going as myself. I’m willing to be the centerpiece for your Halloween party, for a negotiated fee. Any kids you want to scare the daylights out off, bring ’em by. Even my grandkids are afraid of me!”
An often-overlooked provision for suffering is our God-given capacity to laugh.⇦Tweet that!
Sometimes we Christians can be just a little too serious, can’t we? Don’t be afraid of the humor that comes to your heart. The Lord made you that way, for your own good. The reason? You are the apple of His eye, the apex of His creation, and the one He made with an awareness of your awareness.
Question: Do you have s story you could title “laughing through the tears?” I’d love to hear it.