If you are in the mood for a serious reflection this bloggage is a good one to avoid. Please don’t read on.
If you have a good opinion of me, perhaps you had better not read on… or maybe you should know the truth!
Let me set the scene: I was at a conference, listening to an excellent speaker who was making some excellent points in a really engaging way. I was glad to be there. It was edifying and encouraging.
And then the speaker said something serious and important that had a double meaning. It was not a double-entendre, and it was certainly unintentional, but as well as the speaker’s intended significant and excellent meaning there was a possible lavatorial interpretation that accompanied that phrase. (I will not be telling you what the phrase was, nor who the speaker was as it’s not fair on them).
I like to think that I am a relatively mature person. I like to think that I have a small amount of gravitas and wisdom. I like to think that I am a sensitive, spiritual person. I am now a Regional Minister and am supposed to set a good example to others. But at that moment the inner five year-old boy broke out of my subconscious and I could only think of the lavatorial interpretation of what was being said. Inside my head I was howling with laughter but I knew (because I am mature, have gravitas and am wise, sensitive and spiritual) that I should not show this at all. I tried to keep a straight face but every time I thought I was managing to do so I could hear the inner five year-old boy laughing again.
Just when I thought I had control of myself and the smirk reflex was being suppressed I made the mistake of glancing along the row. I was interested to see whether it was just me who had picked up the possible lavatorial interpretation. At that moment one of my friends along the row (who had clearly been wrestling with a similar problem) glanced along the row in my direction and caught my eye. There was a glint of mischief in their eye (and maybe in mine) and suddenly the smirk reflex was back in full flow, accompanied by an almost irresistible urge to laugh.
And you know how it is, don’t you? When you try to stop yourself from laughing and you know it’s meant to be serious and you don’t want to distract anyone else the only thing you are capable of doing is laughing.
I had to cover my face and try to look like I was seriously in prayer (it was a Christian conference). But then I sensed movement from behind me and realised that another friend was literally rolling on the floor laughing silently. At that point it was almost impossible to keep a straight face and very difficult to stop myself snorting out the guffaw that was bubbling up inside me. Cue ‘shampoo position’ in deep prayer.
Somehow, by God’s grace, I managed to control myself. The inner five year-old boy sulked back into my subconscious as I refused to listen to him and the laughter and smirk reflexes subsided… at least until after the session finished and I met up with those friends who had received the lavatorial interpretation and responded as immaturely as me. Cue much laughter.
As I think back on this I feel rather silly. I feel a bit guilty. I feel as if I ought to apologise to anyone whose opinion of me has been somewhat diminished by all of this. I apologise to the speaker who was brilliant and who was making an important point even as I wrestled with the inner five year-old boy.
I feel like a minion from Despicable Me, laughing at lavatorial interpretations (see the picture on the left for an example).
And yet, I still find myself sniggering and laughing when I think about it: there are some things that are just, well, funny.
Yes, there are times and places when it is inappropriate to laugh. Yes, we need to be sensitive to those around us. Yes, there are times when we need to be mature and sensitive and wise.
One of the things that I think is part of being made in God’s image is that we have a sense of humour. And if God has given us a sense of humour (which I believe he has) I think that sometimes we have to allow the inner child to surface and allow ourselves to laugh (even if you have to suppress it until the appropriate moment when the bottled laugh uninhibitedly plunders your serenity).
I am a very silly person. And that’s all right. I think.
Be blessed, be a blessing
*Let me further illustrate my immaturity. I wasn’t there when this happened however a friend who was there told me about it. Had I been there I would have probably responded as above. My friend did…
It was an important meeting and there had been a long discussion. They were close to reaching a consensus when someone who was always serious interrupted the seemingly unanimous flow of the meeting: “I have a ‘but’, and it’s a very big ‘but’.”