When did humor begin?
If I were to pursue this question, I might spend a lifetime looking for the answer. A waste, really. Yet, it continues to harass and nudge me as I observe life and walk this Christian path.
Humor is often rooted in painful circumstances. A coping mechanism. The kid who makes self-effacing jokes in order to mock himself first, before anyone else does. The wise-cracker who makes fun of others to avoid looking too closely at himself. The girl who feels the need to be witty most of the time, because life is painful- and otherwise she’d cry. A lot. We use humor because life is hard.
Humorist, Jack Handey once wrote in his column Shouts and Murmurs, an article titled, “Ideas For Paintings” in New Yorker Magazine. In it, he tells readers that he is giving free inspiration to all the starving artists with great ideas on what to paint. Ideas that guarantee success in the art world. Here is one painting idea entitled:
The Expulsion of Adam and Eve
Biblical themes sell well. In this one, God hovers over Adam and Eve, kicking them out of the Garden of Eden. As they leave, in an aside to Eve, Adam imitates the expression on God’s face.
Yes. I think there may be something to it. Not literally, of course. But it made me stop and think (after I chuckled a bit).
The first joke was probably made outside the Garden of Eden. It makes sense.
Sin. Pain. Shame. Embarrassment. Fear.
“Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.” Proverbs 13:14 (NLT)
Mark Twain is one of my favorite writers. His life was shaped by tragedy. His statement on humor haunts me, because of the glimpse of truth in it: “The secret source of humor itself is not joy, but sorrow. There is no humor in Heaven.”
Does humor exist as a result from the fallout of sin? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. But I do know in heaven there will be joy, there will be laughter. And I expect it will be better than anything we know here. Until then, we will use our good (or bad) humor to muddle through this foreign land. I have lots of jokes saved up for the journey.