The Gift of Laughter

Posted by Nancy Lee on January 14, 2023

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter. . .” Job 8:21 ESV

I am so thankful that God has a sense of humor. Often I take life too seriously, but God sometimes gives me a nudge to help me lighten up. To give me the gift of laughter.

This was the case Mother’s Day weekend in 2021. My friend Sharon had lost her mother a couple of months before, and she had planned a memorial service the Saturday before Mother’s Day.

I grabbed the bulletin and checked the time on my way out the door. Perfect, I will get there about twenty minutes before the funeral starts, just enough time to go through the line.

I walked into the church and noticed the beautiful arrangements of flowers on the altar. Just right for a funeral.  The pews were dotted with familiar church members dressed up for the occasion. Interspersed throughout the room were some people I didn’t recognize. Those must be her family members, but where is Sharon? 

I plopped down in the last row. More people came in, nodding and smiling at me. My friend Janae sat down next to me and started chatting.

“Where is the family?” I asked.

“I think everyone is downstairs,” she said.

That is odd. Maybe the calling hours are downstairs in the fellowship hall. I stood up and started heading for the stairs, but just then a group of people came out of the stairwell and headed to the pews. Pastor Chris, dressed in a suit and tie, stood up front. The crowd quieted down, and he said, “When they come in, don’t stand up.”

It must be that they are seating the family last.

The pianist started playing, and I was surprised when Brian and Charlotte Frasier walked into the sanctuary and down the aisle. Brian was wearing a lavender suit, and Charlotte was wearing a fancy dress. My friend Sharon was nowhere to be seen. 

Pastor Chris stood up front and said, “Thank you for coming to witness Brian and Charlotte renew their vows for their fiftieth wedding anniversary.”

I almost passed out when I realized I was in the wrong place! To make matters worse, I was crashing a party I hadn’t been invited to. Though I was in the back row, I felt like I couldn’t sneak out without drawing attention to myself. Even if I crept out, I didn’t know where the memorial service for Sharon’s mother was taking place.

All I could do is sit and enjoy the ceremony. The highlight was when Charlotte sang to her husband in her lilting soprano voice.

When the ceremony was over, Pastor Chris announced that the couple had invited everyone to stay for lunch. I was the first one on my feet and heading for the stairs to leave, but I wasn’t quick enough. Brian and Charlotte were already at the top of the stairs to greet the guests. They smiled at me and invited me to come downstairs to the fellowship hall for lunch. I politely declined, wondering if they realized that I hadn’t been invited.

I rushed home wondering where the funeral was taking place. By this time, I would have missed it, but to satisfy my curiosity, I checked the bulletin when I got home. The service was at a funeral home just a few blocks from the church.

When I called my friend Sharon to explain why I missed her mother’s service, we both burst into laughter.  The next day when we gathered at my mother-in-law’s to celebrate Mother’s Day, our whole family shared a good, long laugh. 

“Laughter is the most beautiful and beneficial therapy God ever granted humanity.” Chuck Swindoll

*Background photo by annc from Pixabay