Health & Wellbeing

Spiritual Matters by Rev Chris Sparks

You Choose. Laughter or Tears

Laughter really is good medicine. In fact, it’s almost like a vaccine designed to combat the virus of negativity and gloom!
I had a jab last week when a certain e-mail appeared in my in-box and made me laugh. The gist of the story revolved around an unexpected proposal, the Pope received from Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, conveyed to him by his Cardinals.

Your Holiness”, said one of the Cardinals. “Mr Netanyahu wants to challenge you to a game of golf to showcase the friendship and ecumenical spirit shared by the Jewish and Catholic faiths.” 

Well, the Pope thought this was a great idea – but he’d never held a golf club in his life. 
“Do we have a Cardinal who can represent me?” he asked his advisers. “None that plays very well,” a Cardinal replied. “But, there’s a man named Jack Nicklaus, an American golfer who is a devout Catholic. We can offer to make him a Cardinal – then ask him to play Mr Netanyahu as your personal representative. That way, we can demonstrate our spirit of cooperation – and also win the match!”
Everyone agreed it was a good idea. So, the call was made and, of course, Nicklaus felt honored and agreed to play. 
The day after the game, Nicklaus reported to the Vatican to inform the Pope of the result. “I have some good news and some bad news, your Holiness,” said Nicklaus. 
“Tell me the good news first, Cardinal Nicklaus,” said the Pope. 
“Well, your Holiness, I don’t like to brag, but even though I’ve played some pretty terrific rounds of golf in my life, this was the best I’ve ever played, by far. I must have been inspired from above! My drives were long and true, my irons were accurate and purposeful, and my putting was perfect. With all due respect, my play was truly miraculous.” 
“There’s bad news?” asked the Pope.
“Yes,” Nicklaus responded. “I lost by three strokes to Rabbi Tiger Woods!”

It would be a dour person indeed who couldn’t smile at this joke. And it is, of course, a joke!
In a world where so much content of our daily diet of news is doom and gloom, a little lightness is a welcome relief. Comedy and humor rely heavily on exaggeration, ridiculous improbabilities, and twists of meaning. So you may have heard of the two baked beans who were hitch-hiking around Australia. They ended up in Cairns!

I’ve often thought that God has a sense of humour – especially when observing some of the amazing outcomes of the creation process that has formed the world’s fauna and flora.
But more often than not, in my mind’s eye I see a troubled expression on God’s face. He’s looking at the world he created (with such high expectations) and sees trouble and strife everywhere. Why? Because the people he created to complete the circle of love and fellowship with their creator and the creation, have turned away from their primary purpose – to love and be loved in a society of mutual respect and trust. This, of course, is the flip side of the sunny funny coin.
With our rampant free will, each one of us can choose how we spend the coin of life – with the sunny side, or the dark side, up! The choice really is ours to make!