I recently saw this poster on Facebook.
It occurred to me that it takes courage to laugh at one’s self. Sometimes this is simply a matter of taking ourselves less seriously. We are all human, we all make mistakes. Being able to laugh at them is a way of staying humble.
I know you will find this hard to believe, but sometimes when I am talking, I have trouble finding a word, or I just say the wrong word altogether. We moved into a new house this past September. The new house has a wet bar that contains storage for bottles, glasses and other barware and a mini-fridge. For some reason, over Christmas, instead of calling it “the bar” or even “the liquor cabinet” I kept calling it “the medicine cabinet.” My family just thought this was hysterical. Every time I said it, they laughed and I got mad and saying “Dammit, you know what I mean.” I finally gave up, laughed and now we just call it “the medicine cabinet.”
Once I was directing a children’s choir during Mass and my son (maybe 12 at the time) was the cantor for the Mass. I was in the choir loft in the back of the church, he was on the altar. It was time for him to stand and announce the closing hymn. Lost in a daydream, he was not paying attention and try as I might, I couldn’t get his attention. I can’t remember if I eventually was able to catch his gaze or if I simply announced the hymn myself. As fate would have it, the hymn was “How Can I Keep from Singing.” The joke in the family became “Just don’t stand up.” He laughs with the rest of us.
I think Katherine, the heroine in Highland Solution, has the ability to help Niall laugh at himself in some situations when he is behaving particularly arrogantly. In Highland Courage, Tadhg Matheson has the same skill. He advises “Niall, my friend, ye are going to have to scrape off some of your crust and find a sense of humor.”
It is easy to get angry and perhaps sometimes natural to be embarrassed, but it takes courage to accept our own fallibility and laugh.