Choose Laughter

“Sickle Your Funny Bone,” was the title of a joke book that circulated among downtrodden Jews in the now-defunct Soviet Union. When times are tough laughter beats bitterness, anger, sullenness or depression as a response that leaves you ready to rejoin life when circumstances improve. 

Since our matriarch, Sarah, laughed upon hearing the news that she would have a child and subsequently named her son Isaac (Hebrew for ‘he will laugh’) her descendants have always favored laughter as the best response to wildly irrational experiences. (Sadly, over the years, persecution has often been the illogical occurrence.)

I thought of this when I read a news story of adult Afghan asylum seekers claiming to be children in order to be admitted to England. Are you shocked to hear that after some of these “youth” are arrested for assault and murder, dental exams reveal them to be in their twenties? Rather than crying at Western countries’ deliberate blindness as they acquiesce in their own demise, I couldn’t help but laugh. I remembered the book, Her Father’s Daughter written by Gene Stratton Porter (1863-1924). Many fans of her more famous books, Girl of the Limberlost and Freckles are troubled by the anti-Japanese racism that pervades Her Father’s Daughter, published in 1921. The book features a “teenage” Japanese exchange student who turns out to be an adult spy sent to infiltrate himself into America. 

Is it possible to see the internment of Japanese-Americans, strongly abetted by liberal icon Earl Warren,  as a poorly executed and tragic policy, while recognizing that Japan was a serious enemy whose hostility was underestimated at great cost? Can we see England’s internment of Jewish-German refugees at places like Isle of Man as a poorly executed and tragic policy while recognizing that without England’s staunch and heroic stand against the Nazis, few of those interned would have survived the 1940’s? Has the “juvenile-zation” of our society been so complete that we think that real life mimics fairy tales? Cinderella =good; stepsisters = bad. Hansel and Gretel = good; witch = bad. 

Ancient Jewish wisdom tells a story of four rabbis walking near the ruins of Solomon’s Temple, after its destruction. Three of the rabbis cry and mourn, while Rabbi Akiba laughs. Taken aback, the other rabbis question his reaction. He replies that seeing a fox wandering where the priests used to work confirms prophecies (Lamentations 5:18) that foretold such punishment for abandoning God, but at the same time allows us to believe prophecies promising renewal and rebuilding when returning to Him. 

The insanities of our day, whether related to asylum seekers, to the idea that gender is assigned rather than inborn, the self-pitying infantilization of privileged college students or dozens of other examples are neither rational nor logical. The candidacies of Hillary, Bernie and Donald are mind-boggling, each for its own reason. We are reaping what we sowed by moving away from God’s directives over the past few decades. We can be moved to tears watching a great nation crumble or we can laugh, recognizing the ludicrousness in thinking that we could abandon His blueprint and thrive. 

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10 thoughts on “Choose Laughter”

  1. I must try and share a bit from my brother’s letter that came today:
    “Read your scriptures every day! I read my scriptures before going to work and my co- workers who were waiting with snow balls for me could not hit me. Six or seven snow balls aimed at me could not hit me! So read your scriptures!”
    His tone is meant to be tongue in cheek, and his intent was to make me laugh. I had a good one!
    It was a nice bit of Independence Day sparkler on a grey February day.

  2. Perfectly said Karen. My frustration level is rather high right now. But we have hope and finding something to make myself laugh each day shouldn’t be to hard! Blessings to all. I’m being teased by the weather here in western Colorado and I’m itching to plant my garden. Always a good distracter. Marveling at putting a seed in the ground and having it come up and grow into a wonderful plant.

  3. In trying to make scents of it all, I’ve concluded we are we’ve only crossed the burning sands, with trumped up charges, while hilarity ensues.

  4. This Musing reminds me of the hoots and howls offered by Radio Yerevan in the former Soviet Union, lampooning and deriding the ludicrous pronouncements of rampant socialism and its absurd dialectic. For example:
    ‘In a Socialist State of absolute equality, is it permissible for a boy to carry a girl’s books home from school?’
    ‘In principle, yes, but then girl must carry boy.’
    When your society is on the wane, for sure laughing beats crying.

  5. Yes. But then sometimes all I can manage is to shake my head. I confess I’m better at laughing about things when they’re years old, resolved, grown cold in the initial reaction, that sort of thing.
    Well, there is always tea. That brightens in its own way, for me.

  6. Even now, declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.- Joel 2:12-13
    The solution to our trouble is simple and just like the travails of Israel – not easy (pride)
    Humility before a Holy God..
    If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chron 7:14
    DC is not the answer, politicians are not the answer – God is the answer.
    That those who claim to be God’s people don’t “get that”…I am stunned.
    Too many tares, too little wheat (Matthew 13)

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