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Milkshakes and laughter

The morning devotional said “Learn to laugh at yourself more freely. Don’t take yourself or your circumstances so seriously.”

I would soon be acting out these words.

The ad promised – “Thirty-five flavors of milkshakes.” So, my wife and I decided to drive to the curb-side service restaurant and order hot dogs and milkshakes. My milkshake was peanut butter and chocolate fudge. It was perfect, even on a cold, wintry day.

After the server delivered the order to our car, we noticed several empty tables, so we decided to enjoy our meal outside.

I was climbing out of the car with food in one hand and milkshake in the other. The shake slid out of my hand, bounced on my leg and hit the concrete pavement with a loud splat. The contents of my peanut butter and chocolate fudge milkshake leaped out of the container onto my pants and my shoes.

There I was, standing in a restaurant parking lot with milkshake drippings an inch thick on my pants going all the way down to the top of my shoes. Looking back, I’m not sure any of the peanut butter and chocolate fudge milkshake touched the pavement. It was all on me.

For the record, I’m not proud of what happened next.

I took off my shoe while screaming and proceeded to hit the pavement with my shoe. What? Yes, I was beating the pavement and yelling at my ice cream-covered shoe.

Why? I have no idea. I did calm down enough to go inside and get cleaned up somewhat. The poor waitress offered to make me another milkshake but all I could say was, “I’ve lost all desire for a milkshake.”

Ok. I know this is embarrassing. But after calming down, I chose to laugh. Remember the devotion. “Learn to laugh at yourself more freely. Don’t take yourself or your circumstances so seriously.”

Sometimes, we need to laugh even if the joke is on us. Proverbs 17:22 teaches, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

I know you’re thinking that being a minister is serious business. So true, I am exposed to the most sensitive and tragic moments in a person’s life.

When there is an illness, death or marital dispute, I receive the call to listen and offer the wisdom and comfort of God’s presence.

But over the years, I have discovered something profound. God has a wonderful sense of humor and God’s creatures were created to laugh as well as cry.

Jesus said in Luke 6:21, “God blesses you who weep now, for the time will come when you will laugh with joy.” What a great promise.

This is what I’ve learned about laughter:

• Laughter can calm your fears.

• Laughter can restore your hope.

• Laughter can ease your pain.

• Laughter can strengthen your resolve.

• Laughter can turn arrogance into humility.

Devotional writer Sarah Young wrote, “Laughter lightens your load and lifts your heart into heavenly places. Your laughter rises to heaven and blends with angelic melodies of praise. Just as parents delight in the laughter of their children, so I delight in hearing My children laugh. I rejoice when you trust Me enough to enjoy our life lightheartedly.”

I will not order a peanut butter, chocolate fudge milkshake anytime soon but I do plan to overcome the embarrassment of looking and acting foolish by telling this story to anyone who will listen and laugh.

I think God would laugh too.

REV. LARRY E. DAVIES can be reached at larrydavies@vaumc.org.