Well, I've actually known the Lord of Laughter for a very long time. But in the past couple of weeks, He has made His love of laughter known to me in fresh reminders. I am meeting the Lord of Laughter once again with more understanding and appreciation.
The insights from God regarding His love of laughter and His desire for us to nurture, embrace, retain our senses of humor come in various modes. The theme repeats itself...and to remind myself of His love of laughter, I have taken to signing my emails with a slight variation of the usual "Love in His Love."
Now I sign off: "Love in His Laughter-Love."
The young spiritual friend (wife and mother of the three little ones) with whom I'm reading (slowly!) the visions of St. Hildegard of Bingen called the other day. We have a weekly chat that may or may not include daily occurrences and personal life challenges, with also some of Hildegard's messages from God stirred in to the word-thought mix of sharing.
Her husband is going through an atypically rough time of it. He is "down." He is facing some rejections and trials with others unloading a lot of expectations on his agreeable personhood, plus an older boss' bit of envy toward her young, capable, amiable husband. Even some older men, retired with time on their hands but not the desire to take on the responsibilities, have pressed the young man into service as a grand knight in the local chapter of Knights of Columbus. All this comes at a time in life when the husband would like to experience some change within his given career and make a move, as well.
The young friend and this old consecrated Catholic hermit talked about the value of not taking ourselves or our situations too seriously, or so seriously. We came up with some practical ideas for her to implement as soon as her husband returns from a business trip. One delightful little tangible is going to be a splurge on a Dairy Queen ice cream cake upon his return--something spontaneous that the little girls will bring smiles just by their excitement over such a treat.
But we discussed some other aspects of how to not take ourselves so seriously nor others so seriously. A root antidote to over-serious maladies is to strive for unconditional love of others...and to not forget to accept ourselves, too, and love all that God finds lovable as well as forgivable: all things.
A couple or more weeks ago the Lord showed me ways in which I had taken matters way too seriously. I think I lost my sense of humor some where along the interstate when I drove a large moving truck many miles to a new location. By the time I arrived and met up with the new neighbor, he immediately said he was going to take part of the property I'd purchased by an odd-provision called "adverse possession." There was no humor to be found within me at that point. And the humorless status had pretty much continued on for the past three years.
I've taken my adult children and grandchildren far too seriously--ruminating on comments made or no comments or contact at all. And I realized they have taken me far too seriously, as well. Granted, I am reaping the results of my own loss of sense of humor, for words were spoken from a horrible, emotional and dark place down within the memories of unfortunate past experiences.
There is no humor in how some people may have treated us in the past, but yet we can learn to laugh about how the Lord delivers us, offers us a new adventure with no guarantees that it will be easier or easy at all.
Still we can laugh. The Lord of Laughter gives us the ability to always laugh, even if it is a practiced laugh, a disciplined laugh, a tight little laugh. In short order, even the tiniest of smiles or inner chuckles can become great peals of chortling laughter--the kind that some might be embarrassed to laugh fully in public.
Thus, hermits do have an advantage in this vocation of silence of solitude and being alone with God. We can belly laugh no matter how peculiar our laugh style comes out. We can laugh until we cry, or cry until we laugh. He loves us unconditionally, no matter if we take ourselves too seriously or take others too seriously; but He smiles and laughs with us when we learn to laugh about most aspects of our temporal lives or even our spiritual lives, when things don't go as planned or we'd like...or we think we'd like.
I'd even forgotten about laugh therapy since landing in this desert place, this exile, this hermitage with nothing but challenges and mishaps far more than the 57 rats now rid out. I used to do a laugh therapy by purposefully laughing, forcing out ten laughs in a row. Usually by the time I'd get to seven rather fake-sounding laughs, the inimitable laughs (laughs are like fingerprints--none the same in anyone of us) would become genuine, real, deep and refreshing.
The other day I emailed someone regarding the true value in keeping a handy sense of humor in all situations. It is not that we discount what is truly serious or needs a serious decision or action, but that we don't need to lose perspective or have that which is serious...take us down.
I don't know if what I wrote was accepted; probably not. Sometimes it is better to write such as in this blog, anonymously, freely without the risk of others wondering (in all too much seriousness) if I am criticizing them, or becoming too invasive, or am "preaching to the choir"--that which they know but maybe do not want to be reminded of in the present moment.
There are all sorts of reasons why we might resist or block that which is spoken or written by those we know...and of whom we take too seriously. That is usually the reason we have blocks or resistances to much of anything: we are taking the person or the situation too seriously. The sense of humor, the laughter, is buried beneath piles of memories, thoughts, troubles--all seeming serious and maybe were serious, some time past.
It is easy to let things "get to us." We take this or that seriously, and before long it can turn into "too seriously." What good does that do us or others, let alone the situation?
Another spiritual friend emailed many concerns about her husband's health. He resents and resists her attempts to offer positive suggestions. We wrote back and forth some thoughts on how she might proceed...and then I remembered the Lord of Laughter. I remembered because I'd signed the email with "Love in His Laughter-Love" and she wrote back asking what is this all about? Not my usual closing....
So I wrote back and explained, and added that we'd been forgetting to apply the Lord's love of laughter to the situation with her husband. It was all being taken too seriously--not that health problems are not serious. His are quite serious, but his refusal to try that which might help him in some ways and his responses to her really need to be dipped in the refreshing waters of laughter--within her thoughts, that is. Would not at all do to laugh aloud.
But she can inwardly chuckle at the ways in which her husband tries to avoid what might be helpful to his health problem just as we can chuckle at our own humanness. In so doing, by keeping her sense of humor and knowing she can trust with faith in prayers for him, the tension is relieved even if he does not know at all that a sense of humor has been inserted into their situation. (Not long after, the spiritual friend reported that her husband was cooperating more; but she learned to react in upset, overly seriously, for that does not help him or her, nor the situation at hand.
Perhaps part of the Lord's reminding me specifically in the past couple of weeks about the gold-value of laughter and cherishing the gift of a sense of humor is because it is a major component of how the reactions change, alter, shift as a result of and since the death of my will.
God's will has perfect perspective and balance. Within His will there is laughter and a solid sense of humor. God does not take our life situations and daily challenges with complex, excessive seriousness. He sees through the eyes of children, with faith and trust and unconditional love.
When there is unconditional love, when there is genuine humility, when there is a reality of God's will in us, then we are able to love laughter and recognize that faith smiles and can laugh! Nothing here on earth is without some recourse, some unfolding, some alternative, some progression toward solution and conclusion. Through attaining to unconditional love, a sense of humor for ourselves and others becomes a natural ingredient--a grace gifted by the Lord of Laughter.
This morning I was starting to take a couple of communications too seriously. Then I was reminded in a short video news clip, of all things, that the Lord of Laughter directly sent seemingly unexpectedly. Of course, it was meant; He needed me to laugh and keep the great sense of humor that He offers to each of us, to be drawn upon as needed, like the good of salt to enhance flavor as well as to help preserve food and to burn wounds.
The video clip is in next post. (I'm not sure how to accomplish the "embed" from YouTube: hahahaha!) The humorous section of video is followed by the woman's pithy commentary about the good of laughter in our lives. Again, see next post for the video, and enjoy the woman's commentary.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love God above all things and others as ourselves. Love in His Laughter-Love from this serious yet laughing consecrated Catholic hermit!