Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Shaking With Laughter

God has an incredible sense of humor. I bet His laugh is one of those great laughs that is so contagious when you hear it, you can’t help but grin. Then the giggle begins and before you know it you are in a semi-chuckle moments away from the full blown chortle which gives way to the guffaw. In my mind, heaven will be full of music and laughter. So why not warm up here on earth? Solomon gave us wisdom in Ecclesiastes when he told us that there is a time for everything. I believe it is important to laugh every day, just as it is important to put on deodorant. Without it, life kind of stinks.
Some of my best laughs are when I look at the silly things I do. Take last Friday night. Earlier that day, my wonderful husband gave me a birthday card with money in it. It was in my size and color, the perfect gift. For my birthday, I chose to take a trip with my sister-in-law Lory to a little mountain town in Colorado where we would gamble and shop and enjoy a quaint Victorian hotel.
John was more than generous and I thanked him and put the card in my purse.
Later than evening, he and I went to a banquet fundraiser with my brother and sister-in-law. The meal was lovely and the presentation was convicting. The organization reached out to teenagers and gave them hope in Christ. At the end of the banquet, my brother Phil, as our table leader, gave John and me an envelope. If we wanted to contribute to the organization, we could put money into it.
I am cheap, selfish and greedy. I also love Jesus and thank God for His mercy towards me – a cheap, selfish and greedy gal. As a teacher for nineteen years, I have been a part of countless fundraisers. So much so, I avoid most of them.
But this was truly a worthy cause. John and I began giving each other the man and wife look that says, “Well, how much?” During our negotiations, it occurred to me that I had money in my purse – my birthday gambling money.
My thoughts went very quickly at this point.
No, that is MY money.
John gave me a lot. I could give some.
No, that is MY money.
Are you a Christian? Are you a heartless witch?
No…but that is MY money.

I took a deep breath and whispered to John, “I can give part of my birthday money.”
I suggested an amount and John said he would match it. He put his money in the envelope and gave it to me to do the same.
I reached for my purse.
My thoughts:
I AM a Christian. I am not heartless witch.
Good for me. I am a giver!
It feels so good to give.
Maybe God will bless my gambling now.
(No, I did not go here. I know better.)
So feeling incredibly self-righteous, I opened my purse. The money was still in the card John gave me.
In order to understand my reaction to what happened next you must know that as I opened up the card, it was the “Just as I Am” moment of the banquet. “Just as I Am” is an old hymn that is played at the end of some church services, when it is very quiet in the room and everyone is pensive and dealing with the conviction of the Spirit.
You also need to know that John gave me one of those musical birthday cards that play a song when you open them.
In the quiet of the hotel banquet hall, feeling as if I was a great generous Christian, suddenly the Mother Teresa of fundraising or the Bill Gates of social causes, I opened my birthday card to get some money.
A song pealed out: “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.”
Kenny Rogers’ voice scared me and I shut the card and purse. I ducked my head in gambler’s shame.
My thoughts:
After my face flooded with humiliation, my giggling began. It was that wonderful silent laughter that causes the entire body to shake and tears well up in the eyes. I knew it was an inappropriate time for to laugh but I couldn’t help it. It was still quiet. The closing prayer began and I continued to shake.
John put his hand on my back. Later he told me that he thought he heard something but didn’t know what it was. He didn’t know if I was crying or laughing. Afterward Phil and Lory commented on my tears and red blowfish face.
I put the money in the envelope later when the milling of people began.
A silly goof, but a wonderful chance to laugh at myself. God once again humbled me – His cheap, selfish, greedy, wonderful beloved daughter – and showed me not to take myself so seriously. God laughed with me, I am sure. A wonderful contagious laugh that shook heaven, I bet you. Of course, I’m not literally betting on that.
His presence is full of joy…and sometimes shaking laughter.


FireChaser said...

I would have kept the money. Maybe God would have blessed me "in His Name" at the slot machines.

You always make the right choice, my french fry with catsup on top.

I love you and best of luck with your Blog!

Jan Parrish said...

Awesome as usual. What a wonderful sense of humor you have. I'm sure God is delighted with you!

turk said...

The blog site is pretty cool, and I liked the first one. Of course, the musical card was a instant classic. I don't know anyone that can't enjoy a good laugh. Keep them coming.

tonya said...

Too funny Robbie! I can't wait to read more from you.

Bradylake Man said...

You always make me smile and your words lighten up my day. great work.

but--may i suggest a different background from purple with black letters? I'm getting old. :-)


Grace said...

Yay, Robbie!!! I'm so excited for you! I hope this works well for you!

Karen said...

Way cool, Robbie! God has a great sense of humor and lets us laugh with Him. I'm just glad the card wasn't loaded with the burlesque stripper music! :)

The blog looks really nice and I love the deep purple color, but it was harder to read the story. Maybe a lighter shade of purple?

Loretta said...

Your first blog is a winner! How do you do it? God has truly blessed you with a fabulous sense of humor.

Love reading it, will be back. Kudos to you, Robbie!

Shelley Smith said...

I love it!! I'm doing the try to keep it in, shaking with laughter, tears about to come thing even now as I read your story in my office. :-) I can relate so well!

I love your accounts of real life moments. Please keep em comin'!

cj marley said...

Robbie, you make my work days easier. What a blessing to open an e-mail from you to have another one of your jewels. And now, I look forward to go to your blog to check it out everyday.

I am convinced our Lord has great things in mind for you, little girl.

Desha said...

Oh-so-brilliant, my friend. I love it. This is a classic moment going in the screenplay.

Love you and am praying for you.


avid reader said...

Great story!! Great example of how the Lord keeps us humble and real. I hope you snorted at least once!!

I agree with the others about lightening up the purple backgroud. It will make it easier to read.

dianne in colorado said...

Congratulations on your blog! I agree that laughter is SO important. I spent the past week with girlfriends at the MOPS convention and have not laughted so hard in years. It felt wonderful and the good feeling followed me home!

Justin said...

you should add a cool avatar, like a pic of Eowyn or something.

btw, nice I-love-Jesus-but-moderate-gambling-is-ok-as-long-as-I-remember-whose-money-it-is-story.


Shewolf said...

I want to point out to Justin that moderate gambling isn't ok in Kansas.
Oh and I love your story, very Aunt Robbie thing to do.

John Iobst said...

Having lived through is event with Robbie I can say with certainty two things:
1. Robbie is a wonderful Christian and not a witch.
2. She is the best story teller I know… Reading this was funnier than living through the real thing.

Jan Parrish said...

Robbi - You have been tagged. Visit my blog for more information. :)

Bert "sycotchacano" Kellum said...

Awesome story, CJ told me about this and I have LMAO several times over it. I have told this story to a few people and can't get it told with out LOL. Before I get it told they are kinda chuckling with me with a big smile, you know one of those where the other person is starting to laugh and does not know why yet.
May God continue to bless His people through You,
Love You

Cricket's Hearth said...

Hi, I am playing the scavenger hunt and stopped in to read this... and I am so glad I did. Yes, I am a firm believe God has a sense of humor and a wonderful laugh!