Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tragically Funny

I have just discovered a new blog, Mama on the Edge. Mama Mara is hilarious and gut wrenchingly honest. I laugh until my eyes water at posts like The L Word at our House is Lithium and Anatomy of a Morning. The brutal reality of them convinces me on some days, that I am not alone, and on others, that it could be worse. I'm a little taken aback actually. What is it about tragic comedy that appeals? Is it just me?

Laughter is good medicine, all agree. Mara gives me a channel to tune into for a healthy release. I had a morning like hers where Reid and I were in a total stalemate while the bus honked at the curb. The internal pressure and helplessness of not being able to control his actions--namely, get him dressed and on the bus--has to go somewhere. Better to come out in laughter than in anger. It has been said, and regrettably, I can vouch that the worst kind of violence stems from helplessness. I just don't feel at liberty to express my rawest feelings. Inhibited am I. Mama Mara does it for me. She is an online surrogate where we can all do a little corporate ranting.

Laughter, especially at ourselves, releases us from all sorts of paralysis--pride, control and pure tension. Of course, if we're not laughing then we're crying. And that is way more debilitating and unattractive.

In Chicago, my personal year in the desert, Reid was diagnosed and my husband was gone Monday through Friday on business in San Francisco. Mind you, we had just moved from California for a job that was too good to refuse. In less than a month, he was basically commuting back there by plane, while I remodeled and listened to people ruin my life by speculating what was "wrong" with my precious toddler--out loud in front of my other precious toddler! Go figure. (I'm grateful it was not 40 years.)

I would alternate between crying myself to sleep on the couch and watching Mary Tyler Moore for solace. You get the connection? Picture Mary pitching that blasted package of meat in the proverbial basket. (I know it was a grocery cart.). Her undying optimism couched in cynicism and satire, made me laugh. Everybody sing, "We're gonna make it after all...du do dewt do...dute."

One of my favorite books is about a woman fairly trapped in the 50's with 10 kids, no car, and an alcoholic, abusive husband. Sounds like a masochistic tragedy until you read the book, The Prize Winner from Defiance Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 24 Words or Less. Written by one of the 10 kids, it is the funniest book I've ever, made all the better 'cause it's true! The mom, Evelyn Ryan, is a prototype of modern day mommy bloggers, maybe specifically, autism mommy bloggers. Her creativity, wit, and writing acumen lift her out of impending doom. She cranks out fabulous advertising jingles, enters them in the popular contests of the day and wins! She wins BIG, to the tune of paying off the mortgage and putting kids through college. It is a tragicomedy filled with redemption, love, and hope. As always, the movie doesn't do the book justice.

Is there a tragicomedy in the Bible? Job is tragic but I'm not sure how funny he is. Reading Job makes most of us realize we have it pretty good (no leprosy, multiple family deaths, loss of livelihood). His lifetime of belief offers principles on how to get through the difficulties we all face in life--some for days, others for years at a time. Beyond Job, the Bible is laced with humor, real true grit, and way more hope than Mary Tyler Moore. God still considers David a man after His own heart, despite an affair on his roof and the arranged murder of the woman's husband (2 Samuel 11). Saul is taking a leak in a cave--do we need to know this?--when David cuts apiece of his robe but doesn't kill him as easy bait ( 1 Samuel 24). Sarah laughs in God's face (Genesis 18 ) to learn she is pregnant at age 90! Now, that's tragically funny.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:21-23

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:1-3

He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children. Psalm 113:8-9

1 comment:

  1. I'm all blushy. Glad you linked to me, 'cause I sure am enjoying meeting you. You are a girl after my own heart -- I am a total MTM freakafanatic! Every time I grocery shop, I pretend to be her and throw at least one item into the cart with that disgruntled head shake. I channel her "spunk" at IEP meetings in the face of those grouchy Mr. Grant types. And when things are at their lowest, I never forget: A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.

    See you soon.