Have you ever wondered if God is sitting up in heaven laughing his head off at you? Sometimes I think God watches me and must be wiping tears of laughter from his eyes and gasping for breath, unable to stop the hysterics.
In Edmonton there is a wonderful part of the city called Whyte Avenue. Whyte Ave is full of unique shops, interesting homes and great one-of-a-kind places to eat – it’s the epitome of urban living. One winter evening I met a bunch of girls at one of the coffee shops on Whyte to talk about life, marriage and why all women intrinsically need chocolate every day of their life…you know, the important things in life! My husband, Jon, was a student at that time and dropped me off at the coffee shop and went on to Chapters to do some studying while I contemplated the great mysteries of womanity* with my girlfriends. I felt inspired and uplifted as I walked through the snow towards Chapters to find my husband – I felt as though the world was at my fingertips and any problem was not too great for me to conquer! The urban setting, gentling falling snow and people out shopping were extremely picturesque and I just felt happy all over.
I arrived at Chapters and saw my husband in his red winter coat and trendy haircut through the large picture windows. He was leafing through the magazine section, and love for him filled my heart and overflowed onto the sidewalk – I was puddling everywhere. I decided that it would be romantic for me to sneak up and surprise him with a cute little ‘boo!’. So I stealthily snuck into the store, slipping behind magazine racks and other customers. I was so happy that small giggles were escaping from me and people were starting to look my way to see what was so funny. I resolved to control my giddiness and purposely snuck up close to Jon, turned to scare him, only to realize that it wasn’t my husband! Thank goodness I realized that before I scared some strange man to death! My giddiness quickly died and embarrassment known only to me, filled my cheeks and painted them a bright red. I quickly tried to appear as though there was some magazine right in front of my husband’s twin that I desperately needed to read. I think it was a Harley Davidson magazine…at that point, it was the most interesting thing I had ever seen in my whole life and I was officially a biker chick as of that moment!
After desperately trying to appear normal, I calmly replaced the magazine and walked to find my husband. The amount of relief that filled me after not making a fool out of myself was indescribable. I found Jon upstairs in the finance section reading some horrifically boring book about RRSPs or something equally as mind numbing to me. I decided to not mention the near deathly embarrassing event to my husband, there was no need for him to know how ridiculous I am. Some days, I enjoy keeping up the appearance of being normal and fitting into society.
I finally peeled him away from the very dry finance section after mumbling a few “uh huh…”, “sounds intriguing” and “mmm…” types of things to his ecstatic musings on the current financial book in hand. We walked hand in hand to the escalator and smiled...as romantic as this seems, I was only holding his hand so that there wouldn’t be a quick retreat back to the finance section!
Upon our arrival downstairs, we were immediately distracted by the discount books – Jon and I quickly went our separate ways. I browsed each book, got new ideas that I could do at home without purchasing another $4.97 book and felt inspired. I looked up and didn’t see my husband anywhere in sight. I sighed, realizing that the pull of the finance section must have gotten to him. I ran upstairs to peel him away once again, but he was nowhere in sight. I glanced over the railing and saw him in the magazine section. Sighing at my misunderstanding of my husband, I ran downstairs to see if he was ready to go home.
Seeing him reading the magazines, the earlier giddiness I felt in my heart overwhelmed me and I decided to do something completely silly. Jon is an athlete, and I have gone to many of his ball hockey games. When someone scores a goal or does something good they give each other a slap on the bum. All the men seem to really enjoy this…it must be some sort of male bonding ritual. Anyway, I personally had never given a slap on the bum to someone else and decided that today was the day. After all, he seemed to really like it in hockey, so why not at Chapters? I felt somewhat nervous to put my plan into action, but my giddiness overwhelmed me, so I went ahead full steam. I slid up beside Jon, looking straight ahead so not to burst into hysterical giggles, reached out, grabbed his bum and asked, “Want to go home?” I looked at him to see his answer, only to find that I had inadvertently grabbed the strange, looks-like-Jon-but-not-Jon, man’s bum. He was shocked and backed away quickly and answered fearfully, “Uh…not with you!” The poor man’s wife was looking at me with a shocked and somewhat angry expression. I turned away in complete humiliation to see my Jon bent over with hysteria, laughing on the other side of me. Not only did I grab some other man’s bum and proposition him – I did it in front of my husband!
Terror and shame overtook my person. I was so embarrassed that I was unable to talk in a normal voice. I started to scream my rationalization for physically assaulting some strange man in Chapters. “OH MY GRACIOUS!! I AM SO SORRY!!! YOU LOOK JUST LIKE MY HUSBAND! SEE??? HE’S RIGHT THERE, YOU HAVE THE SAME COAT AND HAIR – LOOK!! OH MY, OH MY!!” I frantically looked around for escape, only to notice that the whole store had become strangely silent and everyone was staring at me. Before I knew what was happening, I was sprinting out of the store and running as quickly as womanly possible into the harsh -20 degree winter, only to realize I had no idea where the car was! But I couldn’t stop running, the fear and shame of the situation was chasing me down the street…as was my husband! We were both gasping for breath – him due to the uncontrollable laughter and me due to being out of shape.
At this point, I think that God was laughing even harder than Jon. He must have known that a great part was coming up in my life, popped some popcorn and invited some friends over for the comedy viewing that Thursday evening. Life is meant to be enjoyed and to be lived with full gusto. How often do we fail to laugh at ourselves and enjoy the ridiculous chaos that happens to us? Sometimes it’s all I can do to thank God for my funniness and silliness, otherwise life would be too dull to keep going!
*Womanity – The complexities of the woman condition, which increases 10 fold by families, bad jobs and trying to communicate with men.