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To laugh is to… love!

I’ve been working for nearly 7 years at a hotel in the little resort of Wells next the Sea. Among the housekeepers, I’m the one who’s been there the longest. I’m also the oldest one. There are days when it’s a real slog trying to make the beds, clean the bathrooms, prepare the tea trays in 22 rooms before 3pm.  I’m sometimes exhausted as I cycle to work and yet I always go there with joy. We work as a team, and there’s a binding force in having to do it together.

One of the things I appreciate most about work is “having a laugh”. I’m forever losing my spray bottles and it’s become a running joke. Or else I put the wrong kind of soap into the wrong bottle. So Jennifer has taken to calling me “the scientist”. A sense of humour puts everything in a different light. When the maintenance man comes around, you almost always know that you will get a funny story. He says that part of his job is maintaining staff morale and he’s right! 

Regarding his relations with the Tuaregs, br Charles said, “Be human, charitable, and always joyful. You must always laugh […] I, as you see, am always laughing”.

In reading little sister Magdeleine’s adventures in the Etoile Filante [a caravan], I’ve also been struck by her sense of humour as she describes the oil tank that splits on the roof as they drive under a low underpass or a tense border crossing. Humour is indeed a form of charity. It is not absent from the Bible. I just think of the story of Jonah, or the disciples telling Jesus on their way to Emmaus that he must be the only one in Jerusalem who didn’t know about the things that had been happening there!

Tragedy and comedy are close cousins. Dante called the journey from the land of the dead to heaven la Divina Comedia. Yes, so much of life can appear tragic, but the Gospel suggests that when the final scene is played out, we will be left laughing.

Humour lightens up the workplace and binds us together. But I also think on how much it can bind us together in community. Thomas More’s prayer has become mine of late:

Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil,
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments,
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor.
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.

L.sr. Kathleen