When my father was young boy growing up in New Hampshire, he visited a family friend who had a vast collection of bugs and insects. One such “bug” that drew his attention was a large tarantula. The long-legged bug now dead, was affixed to a board with a pin holding it in place. The owner had several types and seeing how much my dad was intrigued by it, offered it to him to take home. He readily accepted the gift. Knowing my grandmother, I can only imagine she wasn’t too thrilled with it when he got home. I’m sure she saw all she wanted of those things when she lived on the farm in Oklahoma.
The next day my dad had a plan. He was going to share it with his classmates at school. As each gave impressive “oohs and awes” to the bug that spanned the full size of his hand, one little girl in pigtails did not share his enthusiasm. Turning to present it to her, she shrieked, slapped his hand soundly, and promptly ran away. What once was the finest specimen of a menacing spider ever seen, was now relegated to handful of dust. She had obliterated it in the blink of an eye. My dad was a prankster and I’m confident his impromptu show-and-tell moment was designed to bring levity and a little drama to his classroom. The sad part was his glee was short-lived.
I inherited my Dad’s penchant for humor, and I believe that’s one of the qualities, (among many) that drew people to him. There is nothing wrong with laughter, but I’ve met many a person who would disagree with me. One day after posting a funny story on my Facebook page, an old high school classmate sent me a stinging rebuke. He penned a message to me stating that in light of the world’s sad affairs, I had no business offering anyone levity.
Being the grown up in the room, I thought about his counsel. After reflecting deeply over his rebuke for a long ……two minutes, I clicked the unfriend button and haven’t heard from him since. This option is the few things I enjoy about Facebook.
Lately however as I scroll through my Facebook feed, I imagine I feel like what my dad must have felt like when his bug got squished. Happy and laughing one minute, then in the blink of an eye, my own happiness gets flattened. After being upbeat and happy starting my day, I frequently see pictures of deathly sick people, babies, and pets. Some of my Facebook friends seem most drawn to the worst of humanity. What gets me is the majority of these sad and devastating pictures they share, they don’t even know the individuals or the circumstances personally.
I get it, there are bad things around us, but why choose to dwell on just those things? The Good Book says in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is, “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” So why should I choose but one emotion? Who Doesn’t like to laugh? If you and I are all made in the image of God, why can’t I have His funny bone?
I have one plea for those who are friends with me, stop dwelling on the sadness of this world and start looking up. This quote from an unknown author, sums up my thoughts today. “Happiness is the art of making a bouquet of flowers from the blooms that are within our reach.”