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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Laughter (10/18/04)

TITLE: It Started as a Chuckle
By Hope Horner


It started as a chuckle.

Sarah covered her mouth with her right hand and leaned forward in her seat. She pressed her lips firmly together until they almost disappeared, trying to keep a laugh from bursting out, or worse, a snort. Her mom turned around in the pugh in front of her and shot her a look that said “Get a grip or else!”

But it was all Sarah could do to hold it in. She knew it was only a matter of time before she would lose it and all eyes would be on her as she laughed her way down the aisle and out the back double doors into the foyer of the small Baptist church.

Quietly, she slid forward in her seat, stood up, and worked her way down the pugh—each person given a giggly “excuse me” as she worked her way past strangers in frilly dresses and tailored suits.

She wasn’t trying to be rude. Really. She just couldn’t sit there anymore—watching everyone sit like empty shells--quiet, hands folded, staring at their church bulletin trying to figure out how much time was left before the closing hymn.
Last Sunday, her mom had almost fallen asleep in church for goodness sake--her head bobbing precariously close to the back of the pinewood pugh. Right before Sarah was about to give her mom the “wake up elbow” the pastor yelled something about “sinful thoughts” and mom sat right up with a sniff and nodded her head as if she had heard every word he had said.

This Sunday she told her mom she wanted to sit in a row all by herself. She was 17 after all. Her mom agreed and sat exactly one row in front of her giving her a short leash on freedom.
Sarah had sat next to a man in a sharp blue suit who kept looking at his watch. She watched his leg bounce up and down as he impatiently tapped his heel to a nagging drumbeat only he could hear. She noticed the lady next to him in the flower covered dress, had put on lipstick throughout the opening hymn, the offering, and the prayer requests.
She glanced back at all the people sitting in the rows behind her. They all looked so somber! “What was this, a funeral?” she thought to herself. “Did everyone wish they were somewhere else? Would half the church be snoring when they got to the ‘New Member Welcome’ part of the service?”
Then all of a sudden, she had realized something:

Jesus had saved her!
He had given her the peace that passes all understanding!
She had received the gift of eternal life!

And amidst all of the church-goers tapping their heels, napping, applying make-up, looking at their watch, and blankly staring at the bulletin, Sarah’s joy in finding Jesus overflowed like a fountain in the rain.

It started as a chuckle.
But once she reached the lobby, it turned into a joyful praise song of uncontrollable laughter.

“Then we were filled with laughter and we sang happy songs...The Lord has done great things for us and we are very glad.” Psalm 126:2-3 (NCV)

Member Comments
Member Date
Corinne Smelker 10/25/04
And we all need that kind of joy - no matter what denomination we belong to!
Lynda Lee Schab 10/25/04
Another great entry. I almost submitted one about laughing in church too. For some reason, when you're young, there is so much to laugh about there! (I should say - so many people to laugh at, especially ones bouncing their knees, checking their watches and bobbing their heads - maybe even snoring! Yikes!)
I'm becoming a great fan of your writing. I've been very impressed with what you've submitted for the challenges the past few weeks. Keep up the great work!
Blessings, Lynda
Melanie Kerr 10/26/04
I think we have all had our giggly moments like this. The woman putting on her lipstick in during the first hymn - I have yet to see that one! Just one comment - it may be an Americanism - but is "pugh" not spelt "pew"?
Lucian Thompson10/27/04
So, you are the one in the back of the church making all that noise! Don’t wake the folks around you till we pass the offering plate. They give better if they don’t know what’s going on. Ha ha…Enjoyable submission. Fun to read.
Mitzi Busby10/27/04
Hope, It is inevitable that I break out in laughter in church at the most inopportune times. God has a sense of humor. He blesses us with the gift of joy.
Marina Rojas10/27/04
This was so good! There is nothing like the joy of the Lord bursting out of a boring man-made church service of people who don't want to hoop it up for Jesus! Good for Sarah--having enough sense to let Jesus get the victory!
Debbie OConnor10/27/04
This is very good. I attend a church where every week is like a party, but even there some are obviously bored and ready to leave. However, even those who appear bored or impatient may be getting more out of it than others might think. I sometimes don't completely get the message until I reread my notes days later. Great job!
Phyllis Inniss10/28/04
Once you have found Jesus, it's amazing what you can put up with. Blessings.
L.M. Lee10/29/04
great entry!
Glenda Lagerstedt10/30/04
As one who has been guilty of more than one embarrassing "church snort" in the attempt to suppress laughter I can identify with your great story.