In the small Southern town where my mother grew up, she and her sister, hungry for amusement would park on the downtown main street and people watch. I confess that I, too, find this an extremely pleasurable activity. And there is no better hunting ground for prime viewing of the human family than the airport. When traveling you see it all—the families attempting to journey with small children and their mountain of supplies, the crisp business people in their suits and teenagers who look like they just rolled out of bed and forgot to change from their pajamas. Because the public is completely absorbed in their mobile devices it is possible to stare baldly at strangers with no fear of repercussion. I could watch for hours!
If an anthropologist questioned my perceptions based upon my viewing, I would report an overall grim mood. Would it surprise you to know that no one is laughing at the airport? Some of these people must be taking a holiday—surely not everyone is about to defend their thesis or attend a funeral. Many of them would appear to be dressed for fun. Is it the stressful atmosphere of travel that makes everyone so somber or does this reflect a greater, heavier spirit pervading our culture? I cannot help but wonder; have we always been such serious people or are we becoming that way? Certainly we have no scriptural basis of Jesus doubled over with laughter. Sadly, no gospel has the Son of God telling a joke or guffawing at the divine comedy. Nevertheless, his consistent message of forgiveness, acceptance, freedom and infinite possibilities are the foundation for joy. We certainly know how to work, complain, holler, beg, desire, avoid, compensate and doubt, but do we know how to incorporate joy into the mix of our everyday human emotion?
When is the last time you had trouble breathing due to the intensity of your laughter or wiped tears from your eyes because you were filled with the buoyancy of mirth? Is not the searching and finding joy in each day the reason we slog on? If you are having trouble locating joy within yourself begin with gratitude. Thanksgiving is the portal to joy. And joy is the entryway to heaven!“The glory of God is revealed in the human person fully alive . . .” ~ Saint Irenaeus