Sad Times

Doughboy“She is clothed with strength and dignity;

she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)

While flipping through the channels the other night I paused on the Jimmy Kimmel show. According to Kimmel, a Gallup Polls declared that 2017 was the saddest year since they started keeping track of “negativity”. I was dumbfounded that someone was measuring the state of “sadness”, so I got on line to check it out. And yes, there is a “Global Negative Experience Index” tabulated every year since 2006 by the Gallup organization. According to the article, “The index, which annually tracks people’s experiences of stress, anger, sadness, physical pain and worry, reached a new high of 30.”

According to Gallup, “Nearly four in 10 people said they experienced a lot of worry (38%) or stress (37%), and slightly more than three in 10 (31%) experienced physical pain. At least one in five experienced sadness (23%) or anger (20%).”

After recovering from the idea that such a poll existed, I began to reflect on the last few years. They have been a period of uncertainty, discord, acrimony and upheaval. And the news isn’t getting any better. Hurricane and storms have caused  massive damage and disruption. The midterm elections have created more divisiveness and blame. Shootings continue. The political climate in Washington is bitter and rancorous. The truth has been shredded by the winds of self-serving agendas.  And the Nebraska Cornhusker are experiencing their second losing season.

These are sad times indeed!

My hope was that if thing didn’t get better then at least they wouldn’t get worse. Then I read the following obituary:

Dear friends,

It is with the saddest heart that I pass on the following. Please join me in remembering a great icon.

The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71. Doughboy was buried in a lightly-greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Cap’n Crunch. The grave site was piled high with flours as long-time friend, Aunt Jemima, delivered the eulogy, describing Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very “smart” cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, he — even still, as a crusty old man — was considered a roll model for millions. Toward the end, it was thought he would rise again, but alas, he was no tart.

Doughboy is survived by his wife, Play Dough; two children, John Dough and Jane Dough; plus, they had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart. The funeral was held at 3:50 for about twenty minutes.

OK there are a lot of bad puns in this story, but I thought we kneaded to read it! Despite our troubled times it is important that we seek humor in our lives. When we allow the onslaught of negative news to push us towards sadness we need to remember that all of us share this journey together.

I do not mean to dispute what the Apostle Paul said “…these three remain: faith, hope and love.” Still I might suggest that humor is an essential inspiration in our relationship with God and each other. It is important that we share our happiness and acknowledge the human story which binds us together. I often think that God gave us a sense of humor as a spark to reignite our spirits when the world smothers the flame of Hope, Faith and Love. Jesus reminds us, “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” (Luke 6:21)

I sincerely hope we can all look beyond the headlines and understand that God’s human creation can overcome the travesty and conflict of the world. This is accomplished through Christ whom God sent to lead and save us from the wickedness of the world. And a little humor can’t hurt.