What a crazy couple of weeks we’ve had. Lots of scary words being used: Pandemic, mortality rate, infectious disease, contagion, etc. It is truly amazing to watch it play out.
One of the ways I cope with the difficulties life throws at me is to laugh about them. Sometimes I make light of the affliction, sometimes I make light of the responses to the affliction. Why? Because I would rather be happy than sad, hopeful, rather than fearful, and – as naive as it sounds – I like to hope for the best it people and situations.
Sister Marjorie Hinckley said it best:
“The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.” (link)
But her husband, the PROPHET Gordon B. Hinckley, said it pretty well himself:
“…in all of living have much of fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” (link)
I looked closely and couldn’t find an asterisk that said “*except in times of pandemic or crisis.“
There is a lot of “enduring” going on out there.
If you follow me on Facebook or other social media, you already know that the coronavirus pandemic has provided me with a lot to laugh about. In turn, I share it with others, because I figure you can use a laugh, too.
That is how I behave. I try to ease the tension by having some fun with the problem at hand. This current problem requires some lifestyle changes (avoiding large groups), some behavioral changes (washing hands more frequently and thoroughly), as well as some huge changes, such as the way we practice our religion.
All of those things are important. I am fully aware that people’s lives are at risk – it would be impossible to not be aware.. I also know that there has some loss of life. I also know that many people are frightened. Joking about them does not diminish their reality, or the seriousness at hand. However, looking at the worst with humor helps make them more manageable, emotionally.
But, alas, not everyone agrees. I know that this past week I have alienated some readers with my humor. I get that.
I’m sure you have all gone to the movies where there is one person in the audience that seems to laugh at exactly wrong moments? That person always seems to have a loud an unique laugh.
That bugs me.
So when I learn that someone is bothered by my feeble attempts at humor, I understand. Not everyone thinks the same things are funny. Some people don’t think anything is funny – especially in times of crisis.
I prefer to endure with a smile and a light heart. I found myself sinking a bit this week as I watched how things with the coronavirus were unfolding, and I remembered one of my favorite scriptures: Section 123:17
“Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God; and for his arm to be revealed.”
Two key concepts jump out at me: First, I need to do what lies within my power. I can wash my hands. I can disinfect things as best I can. I can avoid the elderly. I can serve other people, etc. What I can’t do is alter what happens outside of my home, office, and circle of influence. Nope, not even I can impact what goes on in China, Italy or Pago Pago.
But, do you know what else I can do? I can do these things that lie in my power cheerfully, as directed, and maybe – just maybe – I can cheer someone else up along the way.
I have faith that this will all blow over soon. I have been promised from a prophet of God that it will, and that things will be ok. I have faith in that promise. Just yesterday he posted a message online that included, “These unique challenges will pass in time. I remain optimistic for the future.” (link)
I have seen much fear, which in antithetical to a faithful life.
As Paul said, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
(Honestly, the “sound mind” part is called into question when I see people hoard truckloads of TP.)
Part of our challenge is to use our faith to push aside the fear we may be experiencing. Depending on the issue at hand, that can be easy, or seemingly impossible.
In discussing fear vs. faith, Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “Members of the Church need not and should not be alarmists. They need not be deflected from quietly and righteously pursuing their daily lives.” (link)
Finding a smile in dark times is one of the ways I try to find faith to overpower fear. Please don’t confuse this with disrespect or insensitivity. I will never be mocking or irreverent towards things sacred. However, I do understand that to some, I am that ill-timed laugh in the movie theater.
I’m not to that point where the future lion king Simba immaturely boasts “I laugh in the face of danger!”
Oh, wait. Yes I am.
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