Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, March 13, 2015
Day #21 – Be Silly? When Smiles Happen, Naturally.
Silliness can be uproariously funny. Have you ever laughed with a friend? Laughed at a joke, and then, kept on laughing? Or, especially with children. Have you ever made silly faces with children? Your children, or grandchildren, or nieces and nephews? Children have such freedom to be silly. Joyously, happily free to be themselves.
But I thought of silliness in a slightly different context. Silliness helps lighten serious moments. Silliness makes difficult things bearable. A smile can be a precursor to silliness. I still remember dear, retired Pastor Carl (who died aged one hundred years old last summer) telling me about twelve years ago that I have a lovely smile, and I ought to use it often.
I worked as a chaplain in a busy urban hospital for some years. My friendly smile was (and still is) a great opportunity for me to begin conversations. I have had people say that my smile lit up a hospital room, or the hospital hallway.
But—I’m thinking specifically when my smile lightened tense situations. Or, when a humorous comment punctuated with my signature smile helped ease a difficult time. Especially when working with the medical staff in the hospital. It can get pretty hectic in the emergency department. Or, intensive care.
Sometimes, the staff lightened the atmosphere with “black” or “gallows” humor. Absolutely! It served a purpose, and helped people deal with really serious situations or traumatic events. Part of my duties were to reach out, to be there for the medical staff. If I could be a calm, less-anxious presence for the staff as well as for the patients and their loved ones, then I was effectively doing my job. So, did I sometimes smile when I greeted the staff? You bet. When the nurses were kidding around, even a bit silly at the nurses’ station, did I join in from time to time? You bet.
That’s one of the things I miss most of all. Yes, the supportive relationships, yes, the one-on-one interaction. But the smiles, and the silliness. That was so important. And life-giving. And just plain silly. Sometimes, silliness hits the spot.
God, I know You have a sense of humor. And, You have given that same humor—silliness—to people, to use. Even when things are dark and desperate, we can still use our sense of humor to lighten situations and ease difficulties. And, we can laugh. Smile. Just be silly.
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