Day 73 Laughing at the airport

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
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7 Responses to Day 73 Laughing at the airport

  1. jimbocando says:

    I was struck by your line: Nevertheless, his consistent message of forgiveness, acceptance, freedom and infinite possibilities are the foundation for joy. Isn’t this the message of Pope Francis? Isn’t that why he brings so much hope wherever he goes. God’s gift of Pope Francis was an extraordinary gift to humanity. I hope he stays for a long time.

  2. Dcn. Dan Weber says:

    Have you been reading James Martin on your journey?

  3. 2or3littlebirds says:

    A huge AMEN!

    “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”
    ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

    There’s nothing so near delight but to be that tap dancing ray of sunshine in the grumpy person’s eye. ~ RBL

  4. David Suddjian says:

    Apropos to this blog post and another recent one, the other night my son Stephen said, “Smiles and laughter are renewable energy resources.” I like that. Big CO love to you Fr. Matt –D

  5. DaveZen says:

    Proof that Jesus had a sense of humor –

    Matthew 14:25-30 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

    28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said.
    Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

    Matthew 16:16-18 …16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18″I also say to you that you are Peter (which means “rock”), and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.…

  6. Joanna says:

    So true about people in the airport, even coming and going from Hawaii. (Well, actually, there are people smiling when going; but not so many coming back when they should be filled with gratitude.) I smile at people when they meet my eyes. It catches some off guard; others do smile back in surprise. And what a difference it makes to engage the person waiting on you/checking you in or out. It’s a great “random act of kindness.” So, smile, more everyone!

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