The wise man Soloman wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1,4 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… a time to weep and a time to laugh.”(Biblegateway.com, Ecclesiastes 3 NIV, A Time for Everything, 11/16/2020). Solomon was very wise – according to the bible there was nobody wiser than him before, and nobody as wise after. In this passage he was instructing us that we need to have time and place, and in this case we had to have a balance of being happy and sad.
My dad was a very serious person, when I was a child, he always seemed angry – and he yelled a lot. Looking back on my life – he also was very sardonic. My mom on the other hand was very light hearted and laughed a lot: She was the yin to his yang.
One of the main rules in my house was, “Boys did not get pierced ears.” This was a hard and fast rule. Boys in my school were getting earrings, and they were the coolest boys, and all the girls liked them. I wanted to be like them, but I knew the rules.
We moved to a new town when I was in highschool, and I had some rowdy friends that I hung around. They had pierced ears, and one day I had an idea. I had found an earring back on the sidewalk at my school, and I had some small ball bearings, so I superglued a ball bearing to the front of my ear and the back of my ear, I glued the earring back. I was being funny.
That night after band practice, I walked into the kitchen where my mom was, I was cradling my left ear and my mom asked what was wrong with my ear. I said, “It just hurts, that’s all.”
She then asked, “Did you get your ear pierced?” I lowered my hand, and she looked closely. “You little brat,” she said laughing, “It’s just glued on. Go show your dad, and hold your ear – tell him you have something to show him.”
I walked into my dad’s room holding my ear. “Dad,” I said, “I have something to show you.” He looked up disinterested and I removed my hand. He looked at my ear and his face turned deep red.
“No boy of mine will have a pierced ear.” He began, “Do I need to get you a skirt and heels?”
In a theatrical motion, I pulled the bearing off of my ear and the backing as well. “Fine.” I said quietly – then I smiled because the joke was done. “It was just glued on.” I admitted.
My dad’s face still crimson did not break into a smile, his eyes didn’t light up, he just got angrier. “Do you think it is funny to mock your father!” He yelled and for the next forty-five minutes he lectured me on how a son of his should behave.
Unfortunately, my oldest children had to suffer the “lecture,” and the extent of their subjection to my lectures became evident when they were older, because my oldest son and second oldest named my lectures. However, I never lost my humorous side. I tried to play with them, and I did enjoy them laughing.
Now I watch my granddaughters. I get down on the floor and play dolls with them, we play tag and when the weather’s nice; we go out and ride bikes and scooters. I will admit, when I am concentrating very hard, or I am doing a difficult task, sometimes I lose my cool. I try not to, and when it happens, I am quick to apologize.
The older my dad became, the less upset he was. Unfortunately bitterness had already taken root. Solomon said in Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Biblegateway.com, Proverbs 17:22, NKJV, 11/16/20).
Part of being congenial is knowing time and place. Take joy in what you do, what you see and what you experience. If the weather is cold, take joy in the nip in the air. If the weather is hot, take joy in the sounds of nature. Laugh at yourself, laugh with others (not at others), Enjoy your time here – it is short.