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Well, it finally happened. At the end of lecture today in my class I asked if there were any other questions—–and when I called on the brave student who raised her hand, I was asked: “Do you know you are wearing shoes that don’t match?” Both feet were enclosed in brown stressed leather clogs lined with fleece, both had the same middle seam stitched down the top of the shoe for decorative purposes—-but each had a slightly different cut and strap. You can imagine what a laugh that got; I could only laugh at myself and tell them I could say I was “stylin'” like they do these days with miss-matched socks, only I was doing it with shoes.

I have another confession. I have spent an hour now trying to find some meaningful quote about the role laughter plays in spirituality and in recovery and I can’t find it. I know it is there. I know I have read it somewhere, but I can’t find it. So, you are going to get my ideas on this topic.

In terms of spirituality, laughter at oneself can be a form of prayer. Life can take a matter of self-centeredness and ego within the context of an experience, show you the absurdity of the situation, and ultimately cause the spontaneous  release of laughter. Maybe it is just a little giggle. Maybe it is a full, deep belly-laugh. Either way, that laughter, for me, is the release of my self-centered ego—-laughter is literally letting go of that bit of ego and releasing it to God.

How was laughter a form of prayer for me this afternoon at the end of class? Well, here’s what snared my “ego.” I had ridden up to the third floor in the elevator with our new Dean, I walked into my class a minute late to introduce my guest speaker—-and the Dean was seated in the classroom; he was there to evaluate my guest speaker’s presentation. I ended the class a couple of hours later with a quick summary of how to respond therapeutically to an angry patient—-among other things, this included how to speak with matter-of-fact authority to deescalate the anger and communicate you have control of the situation. Then I’m told my shoes don’t match. My ego, evidently, had thought for some reason it needed to impress our new Dean. Then, my ego thought it had done a good job of showing how to control a dangerous situation. Then my ego had to get over itself and let me laugh, because miss-matched shoes aren’t likely to give a good impression to anyone or to communicate you are in control of a situation. I had to laugh because it wasn’t “all about me” —not at the beginning, during,  or at the end of the class. It was about learning, about the students, and about my classroom guests. In that instant of being comfortable laughing at myself amidst my students’ laughter I released my false pride to God, and I was able to see the humor of the situation, and to appreciate God’s sense of humor.

How did my laughter relate to my recovery? My spontaneous laughter was an outward sign of having grown enough spiritually in recovery to the point that I could  instantaneously acknowledge my character defect of false pride, accept the reality of the situation, and laugh at it from the a “right-sized” perspective. Of course, since I seem to be bragging about all this, false-pride must still be one of my deeply-rooted character defects. To be honest, I was embarrassed to be wearing miss-matched shoes. The good news is I got over it quickly and am now, in retrospect, able to see spirituality and recovery even within the context of this example of ordinary, everyday life.

What role does laughter play in your spirituality and recovery? Please comment and share your thoughts. May God bless and keep you.

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