Jeff and I grew up in Kimberly, AL, a small SOUTHERN town about 25 miles north of Birmingham. We grew up in the Church of God, which...in those days...meant pretty much everything but going to church and eating was a sin!
But, man, could we eat! And, COULD WE SING! (Now, before you think I'm making fun of anybody or anything, you need to know I'm deeply, truly grateful for how I grew up. It's 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." 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 every Wednesday night, which, unfortunately, we weren't late enough to miss. As soon as we came through the doors, the pray-ers 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 jerk around and look at me with THE MOST SURPRISED, PERPLEXED LOOK EVER...like..."What do I do now?" So I look over and realize that man doesn't have a hand...or an arm for that matter!
But before either of us could say a word, the man literally hollers to Jeff, "Just grab the nub, brother, just grab the nub!"
Now, how can you pray after something like that? Unless you count unable-to-stop-laughing as prayer.
Come to think of it...maybe God does...at least at times. Who knows, maybe He laughs with us everytime we remember "the night of the nub."
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."
"On your feet now—applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence."
(Psalm 100:1-2 The Message)