Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.
When I was growing up, my mom had a notepad with the quote, “Blessed is he who can laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be amused.” Not a direct quote from the sermon on the mount, but definitely something our family lives by.
From an early age, my parents taught me to never take myself too seriously. There are times to be serious, times for grief, times for tears- but we must never forget, that at all times, life is a gift. So, they taught me to laugh as often as possible, even when laughter didn’t seem the likely outcome of a situation.
Proof of this arrived again last night when my mother texted me,
“Dad and I just came in from a walk. Something was poking his foot in his shoe. By the time he mentioned it we were a mile and a half from home. He removed his shoe to reveal a bloody foot. He found a sharp object had broken through his sole. I ran home to get the car. Wheezing and coughing up the hill.”
Now I know some of you read the message of the text and think my mom was worried, or even annoyed. But I read it and could already hear the laughter in my mother’s voice. Of course the double smiley face she texted next was confirmation of this.
These texts were followed by a wheezy phone call in which Mom reassured me that Dad was indeed fine.
While we were talking, Dad, who couldn’t come to the phone because he was soaking his foot, hollered to tell me about his ruined hanky and that the ability to feel pain evidently diminishes with age.
Mom thought she better tell me the whole story to explain about the hanky. Upon removing the sharp object, Dad used his hanky to blot his heel and then put his hanky in his shoe to cover the hole. He walked on for a while but then stopped to take a look. The bleeding had slowed but had not stopped. Hence the ruined hanky. At this point, Dad handed mom the car keys and she started jogging for home. Mom had to run up a hill to get to their house (it is one of those hills that I would never choose to run up). It was while she was jogging up that hill that she was passed by a man walking his dog. And this is where her giggles erupted in her retelling. “But in my defense,” she added, “it was a big dog, and I’m pretty sure he was helping to pull his master up the hill. I didn’t have any help like that!”
After my phone call, my husband asked what all the laughing was about. And when I said, “Dad cut his foot.” My husband gave me a very confused look. I’m sure he was thinking (and rightly so) how is that funny?
Enter the gift of laughter. Choosing not to be angry, or frustrated. Choosing not to think that the world is out to get you or that you should give up. Instead, the ability to not take yourself too seriously. *
We all have different gifts from our parents. Gifts we treasure, and even ones we’ve maybe never noticed. And maybe, if we are lucky, gifts we can pass on to our children.
May the Lord open your eyes to the gifts he has placed in your family. May you be blessed to give new gifts to your children, that your ceiling would be their floor to start on and reach higher from. And may you know that whatever challenges may come, you do not need to take yourself too seriously. In Jesus name, Amen.
*It was at about this point that my youngest son came along and pounded on the keyboard. The end result being that the ‘d’ key no longer works. I think that peanut butter may somehow be involved. Any ideas how to get peanut butter out of your keyboard? ;)