Sometimes, it’s OK to laugh at funerals.
I know that sounds weird. Some people would take offense. Some people have never been to a funeral where mixed in with the grief and sadness are occasional moments of joy. And laughter.
We laughed at the enormous spray of lovely flowers strategically set in a place of honor at the funeral home. Flowers for “Beloved Uncle Jerry”. Dad’s name wasn’t Jerry. As the funeral director hastily whisked the flowers away, we hoped that whoever Uncle Jerry was, he had them in time for his service.
And we laughed when we asked if the funeral home had any thumbtacks for us to use on our photo memory boards. They said they did, and handed us a beautiful cut-crystal bowl filled with a wide array of brightly colored pushpins. We promptly named the bowl “The Candy Dish of Danger” and laughed every time we went to grab a handful of tacks.
We laughed at the stories of Dad’s fishing adventures and boyhood antics as they were told by family members at the memorial service. We think Dad would have laughed, too. He loved a good story.
Of course losing Dad so unexpectedly wasn’t fun. But our family loves to laugh, and God gave us – and continues to give us – moments that make us smile, moments that remind us of the hope we have within us, moments that remind us that He is still good, and still in the business of joy.
Christian funerals should be different. We know where Dad is today. We know we’ll see him again. And we know that God is watching over those of us left behind.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13 NLT)
Yes, we grieve. But sometimes a good laugh and a big smile remind us that we indeed have…hope.
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. Psalm 5:11
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
4 thoughts on “Laughter”
Sharon, like many other Christian principles, we have also gotten this one wrong. As you quoted in Psalm 5:11, we are to rejoice when someone dies and to cry when a child is born. But societal norms dictate that we do the very opposite. In fact, some may even think it disrespectful if tears are not shed at funeral services. So while your belief may seem alien to many, it is actually Biblically correct. One can certainly find humor in the midst of despair and the coining of the phrase “The Candy Dish of Disaster” lends a light moment to a sad situation. Just imagine for a moment, someone sitting afar and observing the dynamics of your group and being blessed by the hope they see in your laughter. Keep laughing and if you listen intently, you would even hear Jerry’s silent laughter as well.
I really enjoyed this. We laughted at my husband’s funderal. He had “wild sport coats” which the preachers wore at his service and sharing facts about Kewn brought laughter. It was what he would have loved. I wish you could have known him. He was special.
Sharon, thank you so much for sharing this with us. I was wondering if I could repost your blog on my FB. I know others would benefit from it.
Yes, Donna! Please feel free to repost. 🙂