I was paying for a few things at H.E.B. (only the Texans will know that’s a grocery store), when I noticed a large commotion around the entry to the store. People were gathering around to look at something, and I was so curious to know what it was. Grabbing my groceries, I walked over to get a look.
It was my car.
In the entry of the grocery store.
It was my car in the grocery store.
Whose car is this? the managers were asking, as they stood perplexed around my red Toyota Camry that apparently rolls slowly and smoothly went left in neutral instead of first gear.
Quick internal conversation: Pretend you don’t have a car. Just walk away.
But no. I approached the managers and confessed it was my vehicle. Then I backed it oh so carefully through the doors. From there I drove my mortified self across the street to the gas station, where I lost my grip on the gas nozzle handle and soaked myself with gasoline. I went in to pay, and the man in front of me was smoking a cigarette. (Do you think I could make this up?)
After backing up a few steps, my sense of humor kicked in, and I could only laugh.
When everything goes wrong, we have a choice of reactions, and my dad taught me to look for the funny side. It’s a gift my husband has, too –knowing when to step back from a “series of unfortunate events,” as Lemony Snicket would say, and find the humor in them.
Some people cuss when everything goes wrong. Some people get mad or gripe under their breath. Some people talk about how awful their day was.
It’s better to laugh.
King Solomon gives this advice:
…the cheerful heart has a continual feast. (Proverbs 15:15)
So the question is –are we cheerful because we stumble upon a good mood, or are we cheerful because we’ve developed the ability to sift through hard circumstances until we find things to smile about?
Cheerful comes from looking for good in the middle of bad.
Like when we gathered around the table at the funeral home and tearfully handed the funeral man the stack of clothes we wanted dad to be buried in.
And he looked at the wool socks on top with a confused expression.
Those are exactly like the socks we took off of him along with his snowmobiling clothes.
Oh, but these are his good wool socks, we said. Then we looked at each other and burst out laughing right there in the funeral home. Without a doubt, nothing would have made dad happier than to know we took that hard moment and found something humorous at his expense.
It’s not always appropriate to laugh, and believe me, I have wept tears of grief every day in the last year.
But, to have a continual feast for the soul, we should develop a sense of humor. Because God is always good, and we can expectantly look for joy in the most unlikely places.
A good place to start this habit is to observe cheerful people and note how they tend to respond to stressful circumstances.
Or start by asking yourself:
What would I do if my car were to roll into a grocery store?