"The willow which bends to the tempest, often escapes better than the oak which resists it; and so in great calamities, it sometimes happens that light and frivolous spirits recover their elasticity and presence of mind sooner than those of a loftier character."
– Albert Schweitzer
There are days that I am sure that the frivolity of my attitude is to be my downfall. I am after all a priest of the Anglican Church. I am “expected” to behave in a particular manner. Those who know me know that I love to laugh and more than that I love to hear others laugh, even when it is at my own expense (Visit the Blooper page on the Parish Web Page). There is of course the radio trivia show which I was asked to do for my humour. Then there is this blog itself and the sometimes tongue in cheek stuff I write. And of course sunday celebrations that include Hockey Jersey Sunday, and the Blessing of the golf clubs. Is it becoming for a priest to be joking laughing and even laughing at the church. In fact some of my best material comes from hanging out in the Anglican Church. “The church” can be a very funny place sometimes. I mean you only need visit a clericus (local clergy) meeting or spend a day at a diocesan synod for a laugh or two at how the church survives. Sometimes, I get the impression that there are those around me who seek for a “loftier character” for me. But for me there is not another natural way of being. I am a “frivolous spirit.” I guess I had just better accept it.
When I read this quote of Schweitzer (another of my favorites) I thought to myself, “Self, there may be hope for you.” It is heartening to think that I may have a good ability to recover my elasticity. One always loves to have hi/her ego stroked to the point of at least thinking that he/she has stability on his/her side rather than on the side of the opposite personality types.
Ah-a at last…it is not that simple. You see there is more to Kevin than just frivolity.
I have my own moments of being very austere or reflective. It may come as a shock but there are even times when I feel down and lack the drive to get excited or humoured by anything. I suspect that is as true for me, as it is true for the “loftier character” that there are moments of silliness, frivolity or humour. It is not always easy to pigeon hole us human beings. We are sometimes frivolous and we are at times lofty. We live happiness and sadness, joy and sorrow.
The words of Albert Schweitzer serve to remind us that sometimes we need to laugh at ourselves. Sometimes we need to play. Sometimes we need to giggle and play and realize that the world can be an alarmingly funny place. Bouncing back from difficulty sometimes means being a little less serious and a little more playful. It is a great way to maintain our mental health.
So perhaps it’s no mistake that we greet each other in the days ahead with the words Merry Christmas. We need to give ourselves permission at this time of year to make time to be facetious. Take some time to just play and be silly. It brings great results. Laughter and happiness do lend us flexibility and resilience. So yes! I am glad to be the frivolous one, I am glad that in humour and merrymaking, I feel a great sense of recovery from the sometimes arduousness of day to day life. Let us all take the greeting seriously and have a MERRY Christmas.