A joyful heart is good medicine… Proverbs 17:22
I love spring. Birds in the trees, squirrels chasing each other, bunnies jumping all around, all of them twitterpated and ready for love…then soon all of the cute little baby animals start to appear. I have fond memories of some baby doves that were just learning how to fly. A friend and I found them on a deck behind a campus building and so we tried our best to coax them to spread their wings before a predator could find them. We followed them around the platform terrifying the small creatures with every ounce of encouragement and motherly affection that we had. They finally flew to their mother out in the field, I’m sure, with frightful tales of two crazy humans chasing after them.
More recently though, my experience with animals in the wild outdoors has been that of them terrifying me. One morning I was walking with a friend down a neighborhood street. It was twilight, right before dawn so we could see but only dimly. We were walking and chatting, having a wonderful time but trying to stay quiet so that we didn’t wake up any neighbors. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something jet out of the bushes and then felt something grab my leg! I let out a yelp, jumped about 10 feet in the air and was ready to run off down the street, when my friend said in an absurdly calm voice, “Aw, look, a kitten.” This little secret agent kitten had been hiding in the bushes waiting for the opportune moment to strike my innocent ankle. Once I had calmed my beating heart (and my friend and I had controlled our laughter) the kitten and I became friends and the little guy would often come greet us on our morning walks.
Yesterday, I had another frightening experience. I was outside sitting on some stairs, chatting with another friend and I felt something land on my head (Why do the creatures always choose me as their target?!). Of course my thought was “There’s a ninja bug on my head trying to kill me!” but I stayed calm and simply said, “Do I have something in my hair?” At this point I had no idea that my friend was as terrified of bugs as I am. Her reaction was between a squeal and a swat at my head, but it was her inability to touch the ninja bug that almost had me fleeing for my life. Instead, I almost calmly resorted to tossing my hair and screeching “get it out!” I finally tossed my hair enough that the little grasshopper flew away. Had it been a stinging bug of some sort, both my friend and I would have been running for our lives. We had a good laugh and the poor grasshopper made it to safety.
I’m so grateful for these humorous memories that I have with these three different dear friends. I still giggle when I think about each instance. I’m convinced that friendship and laughter are two of the most wonderful gifts from the Lord.
“For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God…” 1 Thessalonians 3:9