Last week I wanted to tell you something funny. I wanted to lift your spirits, make you laugh, help you endure the storm or drought or whatever season you’re in.
So I wrote How to Be Bald and Happy ~ Echoes of Ivory. It is most definitely not funny.
Ever since then I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of funny stories from my life. All I could remember was the time my dog Georgie startled herself by farting. She couldn’t figure out what that strange noise was behind her! She lifted her snout, nostrils twitching madly, and smelled something. Ewww, gross. Then she trotted away and forgot all about it.
But I already told you that story in How to Pull the Weeds So You Can Blossom, so I can’t tell it again. Let’s try something different.
The Nun Who Imagined Sex
One of my favorite authors is the Jesuit priest Father James Martin. In Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life he writes:
“When we laugh, we release endorphins, which helps us to relax. Psychologists say when we relax and feel less threatened, we are more able to listen and learn. It’s the opposite of the fight-or-flight response, in which a real or perceived threat increases stress, builds tension, and makes it more difficult to listen…laughter may also help us think more broadly or creatively.” (p. 115)
Father James adds that laughter can also spark sudden spiritual insights.
“When people finally realize how foolish or sinful or selfish they have been acting, they laugh. Why do they laugh? It’s funny to be reminded of how human we are, and it’s joyful to know that we have been given insight by God. It’s a laugh of recognition.”
Then Father James tells two stories about people on a retreat whose spiritual “a ha” moments led to belly laughter. One was a discouraged nun whose prayer life was empty and dry. She wanted to enter imaginatively into Scripture scenes as a way to deepen her relationship with Jesus. But she couldn’t picture herself there.
“I simply don’t have an imagination,” the nun said sadly.
Father James had an inspiration. A question came to his mind that seemed worth asking. “Has your imagination ever led you to think about sex?”
The nun let out a booming laugh, seemingly from the bottom of her soul. She laughed and laughed and laughed. “Yes, it has!” she said finally.
“Well, then, I guess you do have an imagination!” Father James said. Then they both laughed.
He reports that later in the retreat the nun was able to pray with her imagination. She pictured herself speaking with Jesus, which delighted her.
“Her laughter betokened a sort of release, a newfound freedom,” writes Father James. “It was a sign of God’s presence.”
Echoes of Laughter
“What is this precious love and laughter budding in our hearts?” asked the Persian mystic Hafiz. “It is the glorious sound of a soul waking up!”
Hafiz points out that the Beloved’s name is pure joy. The closer we come to God, the more we are able to feel and hear His laughter. If we don’t laugh, it’s because we are not yet blessed with higher awareness.
Are you too bound up in your thoughts — and the anxieties of the world — to enjoy laughter for more than a second or two? Are you really, deeply free from stress, fear and grief? You might find it helpful to read Freedom From Your Pain – Echoes of Prayer.
Practice resting silently in Jesus’s presence for 5 minutes. This isn’t the time to pray, petition, or plead with God. This is your time to sit shoulder to shoulder with Jesus. Imagine being on a warm sandy beach, the waves rolling gently onto the shore. Dig your toes in the sand. Watch the seagulls dip and dive —and see the kids jump and play in the waves! You hear laughter, shouts of joy. They’re having fun and you feel good.
Maybe 5 minutes won’t be long enough. Maybe you’ll linger on the beach, leaning against Jesus and sensing the Holy Spirit.
You’ll know when it’s time to leave. Jesus will rise and say, “Follow me.”
And you will.
With His love,
Travel in Faith and Blossom
How to Make Your RV Retirement Dreams Come True – The retired Swiss couple I met at a restaurant in Bandipur, Nepal were full-time RVers. They’d just arrived from India and were traveling through Asia in their German camper van. Talk about traveling in faith! I asked a million questions about living in a motorhome over buffalo momos and chicken Thukpa soup…
When You Can’t Forgive Your Mom – But You Want to – Your mother doesn’t have to change – or even ask for forgiveness – in order for you to be happy! Forgiving your mom for hurting you isn’t a gift for hr. It’s for you.
Is It Hard to Get an Agent? 15 Tips From the Query Shark – Finding the right agent to represent you and your work is one of the most important things you can do as a writer. How do you get a literary agent who believes in you, loves your book, and will help you get published?
When You Were Raped and Your Boyfriend Can’t Cope – Telling your boyfriend you were raped could be the most important thing you do in your relationship. How will he cope with the shock, anger and pain of his girlfriend being raped? His reaction may surprise you.