The Dog That Watched TV

7 03 2008

I’ve mentioned before that our dog Max watches TV from time to time.  No, he doesn’t turn it on himself…  but he does stare at the screen as if interested.  His favorite show seems to be Cops.  We speculate that he likes the police dogs.

A couple of nights ago, his TV watching went from being mildly amusing to wildly hilarious.  The news carried a tragic story that had no humor to it whatsoever.  But as soon as the announcer said the words “animal slaughter”, Max let out a big cry, got up and left the room.  We laughed til we cried.Maximus Decimus Meridius - Max

This is a good example of a story that represented someone’s worst day becoming a trigger for laughter.  It wasn’t the story, but Max’s actions that made us lose all sense of propriety.  Ever been in a funeral where something happens and you can barely contain your laughter?  Sorta like the famous Mary Tyler-Moore clown funeral episode?  Ever been in church and found it hard to control laughter to the point that people began to notice?

Before answering the call to ministry work, I spent almost 15 years in professional radio.  I always tried to keep my afternoon show upbeat and lively.  One important thing I learned was that every day I was speaking to someone who might be having the worst day of their life.  You or I could be enjoying good times with good friends in good weather while it’s raining at your neighbor’s house.  Just look in the newspaper.  There’s a funeral every day.

It’s difficult for us to understand people’s actions and reactions because we have no idea what kind of day they’re having.  We could make the difference for someone – perhaps keeping them on this side of “the edge”.  This is a wonderful thing about Christ’s calling to His followers.  The way of Jesus is the way of compassion and mercy.  Not humorlessness, if there is such a word, but good humor seasoned with compassion.  It’s this bold and brazen concern for the hurts of others that makes us a bit more holy.  This sensitivity to those who are crying today sets us apart from so many others.  I don’t see many people who do well at this, but those who love this way are people who make a difference. 

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