Lee Griess recounts that the great American humorist, Will Rogers, had the reputation that he could make anyone laugh. President Calvin Coolidge, on the other hand, had the reputation that he never laughed. Want to know what happened the time those two met? Rogers was invited to visit the White House and as was the custom, the president’s assistant brought Rogers into the Oval Office. As was the custom as he entered, the assistant said, “President Coolidge, this is Will Rogers. Mr. Rogers, this is President Coolidge.” To which Rogers leaned forward and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t catch the name.” With that, President Coolidge cracked up and started laughing.
Don’t you wish you were as quick on your feet as he was? For we think to ourselves I could do with being quick with a comeback and quick with just the right thing to say. Sometimes not having that ability, however, is a huge boon not least when we are stung by some criticism or remark. But on other occasions, when we really need to open a relationship, we can be at a total loss for words. That’s when sometimes a funny story can come in handy. Of course, it isn’t always the right way to deal with the situation. Yet, on others, it can cause another to relax, to open up even to see you as human.
So when next you come across someone who needs a bit of support, someone who is finding life a treadmill or someone finding things a tiny bit fractious, why not lighten their load with a touch of humour. Since often a smile if not laughter is the best medicine.
Take the example of Dawne Olson who was preparing to give a talk on unity at her women’s Bible study. She woke up early to type out the scripture verses. She wasn’t quite finished when her four children began coming downstairs asking for breakfast. She could hear them in the kitchen rummaging through the refrigerator and cupboards for something to eat. At some point they discovered half of a snack left over from night before. They all began screaming and fighting; each claiming the half-eaten Pop Tart.
As Dawne made a couple of futile attempts to quiet them down, she finished typing the verse in Matthew 5:9 that says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.” Taking her cue from scripture, she shouted into the kitchen above the noise, “Would somebody PLEASE be the peacemaker?!”
There was a moment’s silence and then Garret, age 6, piped up, “I’ll be the piece maker, Mummy!”
Then to his brother and sisters he said: “Here’s a piece for you and you, and a piece for you and one piece for me.”
Needless to say, Dawne had her opening illustration on unity and peace for that evening’s Bible study!
May you all have a peaceful and fun-filled June,