The story behind it is one I still laugh about: A few years ago I was driving my 4-year-old granddaughter to my house for a visit, and we needed to drop something off at her Papa’s counseling office. After leaving her house, I made a right turn, when I should have made a left and found myself going away from the freeway instead of toward it.
I said, “Oops! Gramma made a mistake–we have to turn around.”
She said, “What is wrong with you?’ (But wait–it gets better).
I started laughing and asked why she was saying that and she said, “That’s what my mommy says to my daddy all the time.”
Me: ”And what does your daddy say?”
Her reply: ”Nothing!”
Now, I’m not sure whether she was saying he actually responded with, “Nothing” or just said nothing at all, but either way, it was funny.
I know–no secrets are safe when there are children around. You never know what they’re paying attention to and when it’s going to pop up in the middle of a perfectly normal conversation, but I’ve picked up this mantra and use it in all sorts of situations…
When I make a mistake at work…
When someone else makes a mistake at work…
When a driver is behaving irresponsibly…
When my dog finds a paper towel to shred all over the floor…
The great thing about it is that it always makes me laugh. I’ve decided that I can get through just about anything if I can find some reason to laugh. When I can no longer see humorous situations in my life, I just spiral down into despair.
I know that it’s not appropriate to laugh at everything, but I’ve discovered that (except for tragedy) something funny can be found just about anywhere. One of my posts about surviving parenthood speaks to the importance of teaching your children to laugh at themselves and not take everything that happens to them with such complete seriousness. Life is manageable with humor. Without it–you’re not living–you’re just existing.
There are those who believe that Christians ought always to be serious, never taking anything lightly. I love the portrayal of Jesus in the movie “Matthew” which shows Him as a person with a ready smile, one who drew little children into His presence with tenderness and compassion. I believe that Jesus enjoyed being with people, and I know that’s part of what attracted people to Him.
Of course, there is always a time for sober thought, and certain things should always be taken seriously. Sin should not be laughed at, cruelty should always be denounced and the pain and suffering that exist in this world are nothing to be taken lightly.
However, in my everyday life, I reserve the right to say “What is wrong with you?” and smile when I say it.