Monthly Archives: October 2010


It was supposed to be a sacred moment: Christmas Eve service – right after Mary gives birth, followed by a quick transition to the shepherds in the field.  The church was blanketed in an intense silence punctuated by the gentle bah of a lone sheep. A rapid switch between the profound miracle that just happened and the one about to, giving the audience time to reflect on both God and angels touching earth during that holy night.

The problem was I couldn’t stop laughing.  The actress playing Mary was really into the labor scene.  She screamed; she howled; she rolled around the floor.  She probably taught more people about labor than they would learn in the delivery room! Then the agony was over. The stage turned dark except for a few glowing stars and all that was heard was the lovable sound of a baby lamb.  For some reason, I found the shift hilarious and starting laughing.

My laugh was not a quick giggle, but a belly laugh so loud that it shook the seats in my row and was heard all the way up to the last row of the balcony.  It was louder than some jet aircraft.  And as it circled around the cavernous church, mind you, filled with congregants supposed to be in deep reflection, I couldn’t even tell you what was so funny.  The sweet sound of a lamb? Not hardly.  The newborn Savior of the world finally here in human form?  I don’t think so.  Labor pains? Not at all.  Maybe the abruptness of it all had gotten a hold of my silly bone and wasn’t going to stop tickling it.  I was making a fool of myself, knew it, but was powerless to stop.

Fortunately, the audience was good natured about my faux pas – it was Christmas after all!  Maybe they already knew laughter is important and should be practiced daily, though maybe in a place more appropriate than a Christmas Eve service.  Proverbs 17:22 states, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  Thousands of years before medicine began to tell us that laughter can prevent heart attacks, reduce stress or enhance brain chemistry, God told us all that is true!

Our God is a God of joy!  He wants us to be happy and to laugh.  Joy is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of Jesus.  Laughter is the way that we can express the joy in our hearts – it is the shortest distance between two people; it is an instant vacation.  Most importantly, laughing invokes feelings of happiness and joy. Instead of being all gloomy and frustrated because there is no perceived solution, laughing lifts us up out of our pool of problems and plops us on solid ground where we can gain some new insights.

So practice LOL (Laughing Out Loud)!

If you can’t muster up a laugh each day, try to fake it by at least smiling once a day.


Wednesday night, I attended a book club with about 700 of my closest friends.  Obviously, it wasn’t a normal book club – more like a book reading by the author who stopped at well-chosen spots for participants to share insights with their tablemates.  The author, very wisely, left time at the end of her reading for questions.  One question fascinated me; I mean really captivated me to the point where I was supremely envious that I hadn’t asked the question.

“Where,” someone seated far from my table of six women shouted, “do you get your inspiration?”

To which the author very simply responded, “I’m responsible for keeping myself inspired.”  Wow!  What a concept!  She went on to give a sampling things that inspire her: loving community, great food, good books. 

I didn’t ask that great question, but did ask myself one maybe a bit more important.  How seriously do I take my responsibility to keep myself inspired?  Not just as a writer, but as a human being.  Someone put on this earth by a loving God who created its majesty yet rarely stops to enjoy it.  Someone who badly flirts with disaster from a life that makes me feel out of time, out of breath and out of sorts.  Two words, “Not seriously.”

So today, I’m making a promise to myself.  I’m promising to see the little things that I often miss:  The riotous color of the sky at sunset, the youthful spirit and extreme joy of the children in the park when I take my walk, the warmth of the water in my daily shower and how it soothes my sore muscles, the soft brush of a puppy’s whiskers on my face.

I’m making a promise to myself that I will find something to laugh about each day.  That I will smile more often; do something kind for someone just to be kind, without any ulterior motive.  I promise whenever I light a candle, I’ll take a moment to stare at the flickering light it provides in my life.

I love the quote by Lou Holtz, famed football coach – “I can’t believe that God put us on the earth to be ordinary.”  God didn’t create an ordinary world, why would I ever think that He expected me to be ordinary? 

Keeping myself inspired will soften life’s worst blows.  It’s my responsibility.  And once I take inspiration seriously, joy is a wonderful by-product.  It is only as far away as the closest puppy or child or even a candle.

A Prayer for Today

Lord, this is a big world and sometimes we feel very small.  But You are a big God, outside of time and space. You see us. You know us. You love us. Help us experience your seeing, knowing and loving today. Be very, very near. Provide specifically  for today.