Monday, January 12, 2009

The Night of the Nub

OK, my friend Jeff e-mailed this morning. He saw my "twin" at Target in Trussville, AL, last night. So, he e-mailed me to tell me about it and reminded me of a funny story from our past. (I'm gonna share it with you to make up for the moroseness of the past few posts.)

Jeff and I grew up in Kimberly, AL, a tiny little town about 30 miles north of Birmingham. We grew up in the Church of God, those days...meant that pretty much everything but going to church and eating was a sin! But, man, could we eat! And, we could also sing! (That wasn't a sin as long as you sang out of the green-back hymnal, or at least nothing racier than the camp meeting songbook.)

(Now, before you think I'm making fun of anybody or anything, you need to know I'm forever grateful for how I grew up. It is a part of who I am. Some of my best, funniest, happiest memories are because I grew in a small Pentecostal church in a small southern town.)

And, as I said earlier, "We could sing!" My friend Joy and I had earned a reputation as "wedding singers." Maybe it was because of our jammin' performance at the Mortimer Jordan High School talent show, where we sang a killer arrangement of "Killing Me Softly." (For those who missed it, that was a pun.)

Anyway, one wedding we sang at required that Jeff (pianist extraordinaire), Joy and I rehearse on a Wednesday night at an even smaller Pentecostal church. This little church had prayer meeting on Wednesday night, which, unfortunately, we weren't late enough to miss. As soon as we came through the doors, the prayers invited--OK, insisted--that we come join the prayer circle.

Well, chicken that I am, I got right in the middle of Jeff and Joy and grabbed their hands, leaving them to grab the hands of praying strangers. (A prior experience at a nursing home had left me a reluctant hand-grabber. But that's another story for another time.)

So, Jeff reaches for the hand of the man standing next to him, only to realize the man doesn't have a hand! Jeff looks at me with THE MOST SURPRISED, PERPLEXED LOOK ON HIS"What do I do now?" But, before either of us could say a word, the man literally hollers to Jeff, "Just grab the nub, brother, just grab the nub!"

How can you pray after something like that? Unless you count unable-to-stop-laughing as prayer. But...come to think of it...maybe God does. Who knows, maybe He still laughs with us everytime we remember "the night of the nub."

"On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence."
Psalm 100:1-2 (from "The Message")

I love how C.S. Lewis talks about such "frivolous" things as laughter:
"It is only in our 'hours-off,' only in our moments of permitted festivity that we find an analogy (of Heaven). Dance and game are frivolous, unimportant down here; for "down here" is not their natural place. Here they are a moment's rest from the life we were placed here to live. But in this world everything is upside down. That which, if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is likest that which in a better country is the End of ends. Joy is the serious business of Heaven."

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