“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.” – Henry Ward Beecher.
How very true. Children are able to burst out laughing at things that send adults spinning on their axis. They bang into a wall and after a quick sob start to crack up with each other. Humor diffuses stress; heals wounds; relieves pressure; builds bonds; shifts perspective.
I’m not sure if I ever fully developed a sense of humor. Life was serious for me as a child. We had a hard life by many standards; the life of a teenage parent doing their best with limited resources across the board. So to cope we all learned to grow up too quickly. Two children making sense of what seemed a hard life, by buckling down and bulldozing forward.
It’s funny the things you remember as you age. What seemed unsafe, or a hardship to others, seemed fun to me as a child. I remember my mother’s red Datsun that I loved so much. I felt happy in that car because I thought I was lucky. Having grown up on Flintstones, I thought this was the next best thing, because the passenger floor was so rusted I could see the asphalt zooming by. When it rained, I would hold my feet up as the water shot through the holes. It made traveling across town a great adventure in my little mind.
What a wonderful way to see the world and yet somewhere in that distant past everything became too serious. Driven by the need for self improvement; a fierce desire to escape something I thought was not for me; a steely determination to change the world. I thought every event was a problem to be fixed, a hardship to be endured and a goal to be reached.
What’s scary is this joylessness happened slowly and over time. The older I got the more serious the world became to me. Everything was a major event. I laughed less, worked more… Because just about everything in my life I turned into a job.
“Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs.” – Christopher Morley
Today my daughter forgot to turn off the old fashioned tub on the third floor of our house; which has no overflow spout. Mommy, aka the broken record, has said repeatedly our room is off limits and the tub is off limits for this very reason. So while I’m downstairs cooking on the first floor it starts literally raining on my head. I hear rain all throughout the house and on the second floor it’s raining through the light fixtures, ceiling and like a fire hydrant gushing from the bottom of the window sills.
Racing to the third floor I realize the tub was left on and has been overflowing for about an hour. I had no sense of humor. The adrenaline rush of chaos and panic coursed through my body. The kids, to their credit, and their two friends, started throwing down towels and putting buckets under light fixtures. It “rained” heavily for about thirty minutes before it turned into slow drips.
What is interesting is this event set me on my axis. I started to pull ‘stories’ out of the closet like life is hard; life has been a struggle for me my entire life; life is overwhelming. This was sending me down the rabbit hole. So I started to ask the ALL powerful question; for me. If all things in life are meant for learning what am I to learn here.
The answer came to me loud and clear. To pay attention. I have not been paying attention to my health, my own needs, the things that keep my spiritual tank full. As a result I sort of fell asleep at the wheel and was not tuned into my children. I am thankful for this perspective.
Maybe tomorrow I will walk around the house with an umbrella as a way to reflect the humor I want to have about this event. I am not quite there yet. My thoughts are a bit focused on fear; no flood insurance, mold and an expense we can not bare at this time. That’s the serious side of me planning for disaster when in truth a friend recommended a company that can send in dehumidifiers and in a few days all will most likely be back to normal 🙂 Until then I’m looking for my “funny” in all this.
My hope is, that we can all return to the childlike humor we once so naturally possessed, before we decided to get so damn serious about it all!