By Martin | Monday, June 1, 2015 | 1:54 PM
If you look for it you can find humor no matter where you go in our world. In Boston there is a prep school for dogs. It's like boot camp, only their slogan is "The few, the proud, the Poodles." There is a four-page application that includes the question, "Has your dog ever seen a counselor?" Well, no, but she bit a youth minister. Then again, who hasn't wanted to do that? Another question is "In what area does your dog excel?" I don't want to brag but both my dogs are good at eating, sleeping, barking, shaking, and sniffing. At graduation the prep school is full of pomp and circumstance. With my dogs it would just be full of poop and puddles.
In another part of Massachusetts a woman was arrested and charged with assault and battery. That's not funny in itself. What's funny is the fact she grabbed a pumpkin and attacked a man. He's okay, just bruised and embarrassed. Not only embarrassed by being attacked by a woman but being attacked by a woman with a pumpkin. The attack came as no surprise to the woman's family. After college she worked for five years as a prison gourd.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, officials in China have discovered health risks in some of their hairy crabs. All hairy crabs are being checked before they are sent to market. How do you check for hairy crabs? One health official, who refused to be identified, was quoted as saying, "We usually just cull out the ones carrying combs."
Yes, life is funny. Unfortunately, life can also be sad. Sad happened to me this weekend with the death of a pastor friend. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there is a time to weep and a time to laugh. Sometimes the line separating the two is a little fuzzy. At least with laughter you can see the punchline coming. With sadness it is usually a direct hit. My friend was pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, when Beverly and I joined there as newlyweds in August of 1979. His name was Dr. Phil Lineberger. He was an incredible pastor, preacher, teacher, and friend. He had personality written all over him. He had a phenomenal sense of humor and he enjoyed mine. When my first book came out he wrote this review for the publisher - "Martin Babb is a unique thinker and writer with a gift for the humorous. His new book, When Did Caesar Become a Salad and Jeremiah a Bullfrog?, is a must read for thoughtful people who like to laugh at the ironies in life." Phil liked to laugh.
When I first heard about his death I shed a few tears. Then I began thinking of some Phil stories from all those years ago and I laughed, a natural progression. Yes, there is a time to weep and a time to laugh. It is the time between the weeping and the laughing that seems to pass the slowest and cause the most pain. Sorrow is a natural place to visit but God never intended for it to be a place of residence. Laughter helps us return home. It is the rainbow at the end of the painstorm.
Yes, my friend is gone. My timetable is different than God's. I think Phil left us prematurely but in my finite mind the death of a friend or relative is always premature. I don't understand why he is gone but I seldom understand the ways of God. He has a deeper perspective. I do know he loves me and provides enough grace to make it through difficult times between weeping and laughing. I miss Phil. That's why I weep. I think of him and those wonderful stories. That's why I laugh. I know he is with Jesus. That's why I smile. Maybe you have lost a friend or loved one recently. Maybe this will help you in your effort to live between the times.