So this morning I wrote about the Rainbows on the way to Pristina, but there were some things that I left out:
- I was sitting in the van next to a guy who does clown ministry
- The clown was making everyone balloon animals
- Behind me in the van was Snoopy—at least that’s what I call her—she does a joyful dance that reminds me of how Snoopy dances
- In the other car was another friend who I have dubbed the Joybringer because when she’s around, people get happy
Kosovo is a place where some of the most horrible things have happened, and to friends, people I love. War and ethnic cleansing (which is just a dressed-up way to say mass-murders), have happened here, and not so long ago. And the very ones who were entrusted to protect the people have perpetrated some of the most horrific things on the most vulnerable people (rapes, families torn apart, and children sold to traffickers). How do you deal with these things? This land is so soaked in blood and tears, and its wounds are so fresh it’s almost overwhelming.
But God has ways of dealing with the horror. He instructs us to laugh and be joyful—at least that’s what He is telling me. Most people think of God as serious and unsmiling. But God has the best sense of humor of all. Who else would have made puppies with wagging tails and licky kisses? Or snapdragons—flowers that make great little puppets? Or grasses that you can use to make whistles, held between your thumbs? God is playful and fun and funny. Sometimes the best therapy is to laugh. He made us to laugh.
One of my favorite quotes on laughter (and one that I often quote) is from “The Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis. The book is written as a collection of letters from a demon named Screwtape to his nephew and protégé, Wormwood, who is trying to torment a new Christian. About Christian laughter, the demon mentor says:
Something like it [laughter] is expressed in much of that detestable art which the humans call Music, and something like it occurs in Heaven—a meaningless acceleration in the rhythm of celestial experience, quite opaque to us. Laughter of this kind does us no good and should always be discouraged. Besides, the phenomenon is of itself disgusting and a direct insult to the realism, dignity, and austerity of Hell.
I say, yes, let’s insult and mock hell by laughing. The enemy thought to bring hell to earth here in Kosovo, so by our laughter, let’s bring Heaven here instead! God is good!