As my littlest daughter lay sprawled across my lap during family devotions, she was clearly upset and wanted us all to know how truly uncomfortable she was. Megan is usually a pretty enthusiastic, happy six year old — until her eczema flares. Then she groans, “I hate this lotion and the medicine stings!” She’s right. Her lotion is sticky, and causes her clothes to cling to her skin like Saran Wrap, but it does work, in time, if we persevere, which requires complete body rubdowns multiple times a day for weeks. Now personally, I’d welcome 3-4 mini massages a day, but I’m not six, and tonight, Megan wasn’t tolerant. Exasperated, she peeled her sticky, little body off my lap, muttering under her breath, “I’m NEVER taking a bath again, and I’m going to STINK…LIKE…THE…GRINCH!”
Wow! Did I hear that right? I caught my husband’s eye and suddenly those 16 little words erupted into gales of rollicking laughter. Life’s funny moments. Moments often born of frustration and pain. Moments that reflect more distinctly who we are than who we too often suppose ourselves to be. Moments that connect us with others, breaking down barriers and easing tension — oases of God’s perfect peace and joy in the midst of life’s storms.
Finding humor in the midst of our trials isn’t easy, but it is a choice. Eczema isn’t funny. It’s itchy and painful. The rash makes people nervous. The increased risk of skin infection is real. The treatment is sticky, it stings, and the medications have side effects. Megan doesn’t have to like eczema, but she can choose to find humor in the midst of it, and share that humor with others, accepting what God has allowed in her life to shape her into the woman He created her to be.
We can complain and mutter and grumble when facing difficult circumstances, or we can seek small moments of humor in the midst of them, savoring them and allowing them to lift our focus off of ourselves. Proverbs 17:22 reminds us that “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” I agree. Nothing lifts my spirit, eases the moment, or more successfully dulls the pain than laughing with others.
So the next time you find yourself in troubling circumstances, keep your eyes open for the amusing, the surprising, the ridiculous, the funny in the midst of it all, and if you come up empty, feel free to adopt Megan’s phrase and make it your own, proclaiming loudly for all the world to hear, “I’m never going to (fill in the blank), and I’m going to STINK…LIKE…THE…GRINCH!” It definitely won’t change your circumstances, but it might just lift you out of the moment and fix your eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.
By Cindee Re