Friday, November 23, 2012

Gratitude: Laughing at Myself

The ability to laugh at oneself seems a peculiar thing to be grateful for, but today I realized it truly is a gift.  After reminiscing with my Mom over a cup of tea about some of my embarrassing moments, she said "Well, at least you can laugh at yourself over these things.  Some people would never tell anyone it it happened to them..."

Packed into the local paper today, along with an ever-increasing number of store flyers vying for our Christmas shopping lunacy attention, was a glossy four page advertisement for a jewellery store.  I don't particularly desire to have any more jewellery than I currently wear, but I have to admit that I love looking through those flyers.  It's like every time I walk past the crystal figurine display at Costco and I can't help but get pulled into the vortex of sparkle even though I think the figurines are kind of hideous at the same time.  I chuckled as I flipped through the first few pages of this flyer, remembering the last time a similar flyer came to our house.  O and I cut out pictures of the jewellery and fashioned them into pretend rings, bracelets, watches, and necklaces with some tape and mad cutting skills.  We were in the midst of selling our own house, but didn't have any showings scheduled that day, and baby T was down for a nap.  When a family knocked on the door and requested to have an unscheduled browse through our house, I proceeded to guide them through the house, totally bedazzled in my paper jewellery.  It was only after a few minutes that I remembered the jewels and there was no point in trying to discreetly remove my bling at that point.  Maybe they saw my fake jewels as a sign of our desperation to sell that house and move up in the world, because they made a rather sad offer on our house after that!  

My absolute favourite story in terms of laughing at myself, however, comes from my university days.  I have a feeling that I've shared this story before, though I can't seem to find it through the search engine on my blog.  In any case, if I'm repeating this story, my apologies.  I know I wrote it long ago on my old xanga blog, but it's worth retelling here if I haven't already done so.  I was too cheap to spend money on textbooks that I knew would only be used for one or two weeks of the courses, so I would often try to track down copies of the texts in a library, or photocopy poems from reference books in the library instead of buying another Norton Anthology of Poetry.  Sometimes, the only copy that I could find of a poem was from an old book, using a different typeface.  I didn't realize, at the time, that in some older typefaces, the letter "s" more resembled the letter "f" than "s".  As fate would have it, I was asked to read aloud in class Charlotte Smith's "Sonnet Written at the Close of Spring" and I read every "s" as if it were an "f".  Give it a try:
THE GARLANDS fade that Spring so lately wove,
  Each simple flower which she has nurs’d in dew,
Anemones, that spangled every grove,
  The primrose wan, and harebell mildly blue.
No more shall violets linger in the dell,
  Or purple orchis variegate the plain,
Till Spring again shall call forth every bell...
Oh, Charlotte.  I'm sorry I ruined your Sonnet.
Oh, I have laughed until my cheeks beg me to stop so many times about this gaff.  It was pure hilarity.  A classmate of mine, who happened to be a friend from my high school days, thankfully stopped me after about four or five lines and said that her edition was slightly different.  You don't say.

I'm glad that I'm able to laugh at myself.  If not right away, I know that many embarrassing situations will be laughable one day.  Some of these stories are just too entertaining to keep to oneself too...I know that my linguistic mishap has provided many other people with much laughter.  The real gift, however, is not that I should somehow congratulate myself for being able to laugh at myself.  My initial reaction in situations like this is fight or flight.  I'm too wimpy to fight and not the fastest runner, so hiding is the next best option.  The thing that I am grateful for it that I've been given people in my life: parents, sisters, a husband, two sweet sons, friends and other family who give me love, acceptance, perspective, and have fostered a sense of humour about my not-so-sparkly moments.  Though I still deal with anxiety and self-conciousness on occasion, I know that when I make a fool of myself, I'm still loved.  And it just might provide some good laughs someday.  

There are the funny not-so-sparkly moments, and there are the moments that we all (I think) experience of inner brokenness.  The times when we are foolish, selfish, greedy, impatient, pious, or just sad.  More than any of the wonderful people in my life could humanly provide, I know that I am (and you are too, by the way) still loved by the One who made us...  

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:38-39

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