“Why do I find it hard to write the next line? Oh, I want the truth to be said.” That line from Spandau Ballet’s “True” has stuck with me for over 25 years. I want the truth to be said, but truth is hard to write. I think it’s hard to write in part because truth is hard to hear and process and apply. “The truth hurts” we are told, and yes the truth can hurt when it conflicts with what we believe or we thought we knew.
Part of the problem is that truth sometimes seems to conflict with fact, when actually they are two very different things. At least, to me they are two very different things. The dictionary definitions of true and fact are almost identical, and yet if they mean the some thing how can a story told with nothing be facts misrepresent the truth? Usually this happens if some additional piece of the truth is left out. The only ultimate truth I rely on is the reality and existence of God.
Today’s Lenten reading is Luke 9: 22-25; a passage that speaks of the true, factual, and very real suffering of Christ. It also includes the frequently misunderstood verse about taking up our own cross and following him. Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean that everybody has some kind of the burden they are carrying around, although I’m sure we all do. No, this is about our willingness to give up our own lives to follow Christ. If we are truly going to follow him, then everything we think and say and do will be through him. It is the ultimate in WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) We no longer serve our own desires. We serve Christ.
That doesn’t mean we never get to have anything we want ever again. It means that over time the things we want become more and more what Christ wants for us and for the world. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy our lives, our bodies, or our relationships. It means that the choices we make are more and more the kinds of choices that Christ would make. It absolutely doesn’t mean that we will never laugh again. God gave us the gift of humor and the ability to laugh, and I thank God every day for that. BEST GIFT EVER! Well, second best gift ever. First would be eternal life, but definitely second best gift ever!
The gift of humor allows me and I’m sure a lot of other people to make it through the day. No matter how much suffering I personally experience or share with someone else, I know it can be relieved with a little humor. Years ago the Readers’ Digest taught us that “Laughter Is the Best Medicine,” and it’s true.
Laughter – This is the sound of my soul.