A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

No Fooling

Posted on: April 1, 2013

I don’t like April Fools’ Day.

What I dislike is the practical jokes and pranks that go with April Fools’ Day. The “Kick Me” signs, the fake news headlines, the storytelling to see just how gullible someone is before the joker says, “April Fools’,” leaving the other person feeling stupid and embarrassed.

Please don’t think that I’m a humourless, sour-faced woman. I have a healthy, if slightly warped, sense of humour and a loud laugh. (Well, it’s louder than I’d like it to be.)

I can laugh at the antics of clumsy puppies and kittens. Strange but true news stories I hear on the radio. Jokes the priest tells during his homily. Monsters vs. Aliens. The funny things children say, like when my then-preschooler son was acting up during a grocery run and his response to my scolding was to wish that I had a hundred naughty children.

The Redemptorist priest who recently visited my parish told us a woman once complained about his telling jokes during a mission because there was no place for laughter in church. I guess she wouldn’t appreciate the times at my church when the priest has gotten an answer from a child that made the rest of the congregation laugh, or when a little boy kept walking up and down the side aisles shaking people’s hands because he really enjoyed sharing the sign of peace, or when babies shrieked at a moment that seemed like an “Amen!” to a point in the homily.

I think humour and laughter are gifts from God. If they weren’t part and parcel of what it means to be human, why would even babies snort and gurgle and eventually laugh?

I once read a column in Catholic Digest that suggested we talk to God about the things that made us laugh during our day. I think we should thank God for those moments that lift our spirits when we’re struggling with ages and stages in our children’s lives, difficult people at work, and so on.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to take myself—and life in general—far too seriously. So here’s a few ways to laugh with your family:

  • Don’t be afraid to be silly. Tickling your kids, saying something in a funny voice, or telling a corny joke can turn the moment around with young kids.
  • Watch an animated movie with your family and chuckle at the sight gags. Or put on an old alien-themed movie and laugh at the cheesy special effects.
  • Play Rock Band together. Try changing your character’s outfit to something bizarre and singing a song no one knows; you can have a lot of fun faking your way through the lyrics.
  • Enjoy some Whac-A-Mole or skeeball at a play place, or try an activity new to your family, and laugh at your skill (or lack thereof).

I pray that you would find moments that make you laugh out loud—even if your laugh is as loud as mine—and thank God for these bright spots in your day.

Looking for Christian information sources on the web? Please visit my Resources page.

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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