Reading Humor: Our Saving Grace

May 28, 2009

Funny stories absolutely slay me (This is to be said dramatically, with an emphasis on every single syllable.) For years now I have loved reading just about anything comically entertaining. In high school, my family discovered the Junie B. Jones children's books. These books WILL make your face red, your abs hurt and, in my opinion, they are most beneficial for adults who need to understand children again. In college, I fell for David Sedaris whose writing is offensive, politically incorrect, and full of social blunders. His hilarious stories have made me laugh loudly in unbefitting places, and I have even insisted upon having my poor family sit around during holidays to read his stories aloud. For times when I need someone to nudge truth in my general direction, I love Anne Lamott. Her exaggerated life stories about her faith undo me sometimes and I must mention that her writing style is one of my favorites. Any woman who fondly nicknames her cellulite covered legs, "my aunties," has my invitation to come to dinner at my house. I have also greatly enjoyed finding the humor in the writings of some more surprising people—Flannery O'Connor, Herman Melville, and even Edgar Allen Poe.

In the last few weeks, I have been painfully reminded of my oldest-child, approval-seeking, and guilt-driven psyche. It embarrasses me. I told my husband this evening that I don't make time for Jesus because I am working diligently to check a few things off of my list in order to get ready for Him. We both laughed. Jesus, of course, is supposed to be what I invite in to clean me up; that's the point. I am grateful for a God who reminds me who I am in so many different ways—painfully, delicately, with a two-by-four, naturally, and even comically. I really love to read others' hilarious stories because it makes me feel better about myself. There really are other morons out there who have to make fun of themselves for the dumb things they do or say or believe too. Thank God! Humor is often used to lighten the often painful task of learning a lesson, and I like that. I need that. Because I have had a lot of painful lessons to learn, and I know that I have many to come.

In the words of Mark Twain, "Humor is the great thing. The saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritation and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place."

Cheers to laughter!
Whitney Hale



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