Sunday, November 17, 2013

Darken the Corner Where You Are

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning ; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. Ecclesiastes 7:4

As a child I never experienced a family get together that was not totally saturated with humor and cleverness. By this I mean there was a complete lack of anything of any worth at all. It was so bad that I could not stand it. I wanted to escape from such gatherings and often did.

Each attendee seemed to try to be more humorous than the others. Every statement was topped or twisted by the hearers. I love humor, so that is not the problem. This was not true humor, but a mask of cleverness worn by those who were not funny.

I doubt if there was not anyone in these groups who as an individual who was not worth listening to. Groups brought out their attempts at being funny. The more the merrier was the rule.

Even as a child I knew this was wrong. If anyone had had a talk with me in a serious mood it would have been like pouring water on a plant that was wilting. It was not to be.

I never had such an experience in my entire youth. It never occurred in family or in church. I came to hate small talk and the people who engaged in it. I feel this way today. I learned to be serious by hearing endless foolish talk.

Even today I shun groups. Preachers who make jokes have the same effect. I find endlessly smiling people to be suspect.

I visited a Christian book store recently. Where were the good, basic books I had come to love and learn from? Instead I saw an entire section devoted to "Christian Humor". Another told how to produce humorous skits.

How many young people have undergone the struggle of growing up without a kindly, but serious listener or mentor? As young people like to say, "Tell it like it is." Those whose struggles cannot be covered up by false humor, could be comforted by someone who may just listen, but not laugh.

I worked with young people once, some of them blind. I heard a young man mutter, "Life's a bitch, and then you die." False hope and contrived humor were not the answer for him. Just one serious person could have helped so much.

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