On Laughter and the Time My Father Fell Into a Grave

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most over the past few weeks is watching the ways in which people’s senses of humor have responded to the sudden challenges they face being quarantined, working from home, helping their children with online learning… There’s some really funny stuff out there, folks!

Some may argue that this light-heartedness during such immense suffering is a sign or our shallow flippancy and desperation for distraction- refusal to quiet ourselves in somber reflection and self-examination. I won’t try to argue that we are not all guilty of this to varying degrees. I suspect I am more guilty of this than most over the past few weeks. But I also still hold that laughter done well is a celebration of life. It is our refusal to concede to despair.

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”

Victor Hugo

forty-one ten

After last week’s post On Faux Pas and Grace I received several requests to tell the story of the time my father fell into a grave.

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Man’s Search for Meaning

The rug has been ripped out from beneath us, and we are on the brink of the unknown. We who once imagined ourselves invincible, with our medical advancements and  (at least to some extent) our economic security, are now terrified and in the grip of grief. Continue reading “Man’s Search for Meaning”

In the Face of Darkness

If there is any generation that understands the darkness of fear and uncertainty, the feelings of helplessness, and the temptation to despair that we now face Continue reading “In the Face of Darkness”

Suffering and Self-Preservation

The other day I heard someone say, “The more we are consumed with self-preservation the less attention we give to self-evaluation.” Continue reading “Suffering and Self-Preservation”

Behind the Closet Doors

There wasn’t anything unusual about the list: a jug of milk, a dozen eggs, a loaf of bread, light bulbs, and a six-pack of extra-soft, 2-ply toilet paper. This last item, having been repeated several times, was clearly an urgent necessity. Continue reading “Behind the Closet Doors”

Jesus and the Children

While rummaging through boxes in the basement, I came across an old issue of the Magnificat. On the cover is a painting by the renowned Russian landscape painter , Vasily Baksheyev, entitled “Christ Blessing”. Continue reading “Jesus and the Children”

Preacher’s Kid: Smoking with the Boys

Me and my brother, 1977/1978

I never saw the 1984 classic Footloose. The premise turned me off—a rigid and closed-minded preacher, out of fear of a sinful world, convinces a small town to ban rock music and dancing, but salvation comes when a hot-headed, big city teenager moves in and opens everyone’s fearfully ignorant mind while falling for the preacher’s kid, who is rebellious and loose with boys. It was a little too cliché for me. Continue reading “Preacher’s Kid: Smoking with the Boys”