Have you ever had an attack of the giggles at the most inappropriate time? I have. Seems like it is something that runs in my family. Can feel so awful when it happens because it just seems so wrong. Like the time I was a bridesmaid and the maid of honor began getting an attack of the giggles while the minister was performing the ceremony. Like a contagious cold looking for its next victim, it spread to me. It was so awful. I was pretified that I would burst out laughing and it took all I had in me not to.
There I was sandwiched between the maid of honor, also struggling to contain herself, and the bridesmaid to my left who pleaded in my ear, "Don't." Have you ever noticed that at times the more someone tells you don't, the worse things can get? Oh, what a scene and a horrific experience.
Laughter isn't always pleasant. There is like some mysterious civil war going on between knowing what is appropriate and feeling out of control. You would like to flatten yourself so you could just shut up, but with total disregard for your distress and thoughts, it continues to bubble forth demanding release. Who would think laughter could bring such unpleasantries.
On another occasion I was in my College Algebra class. I had some struggles with that class and it didn't help that my teacher had an accent which made his usage of the words "the plane" sound like Tattoo on "Fantasy Island". Some of you may be old enough to remember that show with cute, little man Tattoo and his suave boss played by Ricardo Montelban. I tell you every time my teacher would say, "and de plane" the memory bank in my mind would display on screen a picture of Tattoo calling out to his boss, "De plane! De plane!" as he excitedly watched the plane approach the Island with its current hopeful, fantasy-filled occupants.
And there I would sit at my desk with that scene running through my head as I tried to hold back the floodwaters of laughter. You sense the pressure building and you immediately begin to fight against this force of nature. Instead of finding relief, nature laughs at my puny efforts. It is interesting the creative ideas that come to us in our efforts to mop up the mess. Do we think of something horrible? Do we pinch ourselves hoping the pain we are inflicting will quickly bring us down to reality?
Needless to say, I ended up dropping the class. My struggles, along with the stress of not knowing when I would deal with another laughter fit sparked by those dreaded words "de plane", was just too much for me to bear.
Some have made me pay for it. For instance, the time I walked out of speech class due to another peculiar onset of the giggles. This one was really bad. It was like watching an accident about to happen and finding yourself with faulty breaks. I mean how could I sit there and be consumed by the waves of laughter as my classmate was giving her speech, especially since I had just finished mine and I was, to put it nicely, horrible? I think part of it was due to the sheer relief of completing mine.
And don't you know it of all days our teacher happen to be sitting near me and I just knew he had noticed. Well I don't get pleasure out of this. I think I'm quite sensitive to others' feelings, just some freak act of nature that I haven't yet fully understood. I suspect it is a wandering mind that causes me to lose contact with the overall situation on hand. It can be quite stressful as I realize how inappropriate it is and I'm sure not looking to hurt anyone's feelings. That's just cruel.
I got up and walked out of class, removing myself from the situation for a good while as I looked to regain my composure. Teacher was uncharactistically merciless in his critic of my speech. I don't believe he understood the awful dilemma going on within me and just saw me as cruel, although I understood and didn't look to take it personally.
I wonder how many times we misunderstand each other. If there is anything good from being misunderstood, it may be in aiding us with the understanding that we may not have a full picture of what is going on.
Here's a wonderful tool that may help us in that department, communication. It helps when we allow someone to see what may be going on inside of us; to help open the door to understanding and even empathy, and as they open up to us, we may find that as we connect closer to each other's situation, nature takes a different course. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! ~Romans 12:14-16 (NLT)
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs