On NOT Being “Humor Challenged” … Seriously

“…the Spirit prays for us with groans too deep for words.” ~Romans 8:26b

If the Spirit prays with groans too deep for words, then I’m okay with my moans and groans about writing on the topic of “happiness.” Writing is for me a spiritual practice … writing letters to the Divine in my journal is a prayer practice for me.

I often moan and groan until an opening occurs and what is too deep for words emerges … wisdom flows from my pen as though from the still, small voice within. The Divine doesn’t always speak to me this way, but I have experienced these transcendent moments enough to trust that my moans and groans are leading me to a deeper place of awareness. Being in league with the Spirit isn’t a bad place to be.

And so, while I moaned and groaned about writing on the topic of “happiness” for my writing group, I trusted something deeper would emerge. And it has and continues. Here’s the latest!

Growing up, my family dubbed me the weird, serious one. They reveled in joke telling and laughing uproariously. I didn’t get some of their jokes, didn’t find some of them funny, and couldn’t join in their merry-making.

I inevitably forgot or messed up the punch line of most jokes I attempted to tell. My family happily reinforced my thinking about myself as “humor challenged.” That presented a dilemma

If you have been following my blog posts on happiness, you have probably guessed that my memoir, A Long Awakening to Grace, is not a tale of “happily every after.”

“Be kind to your readers. Color your darker moments with humor to lighten the heaviness of your story,” those of us writing memoirs are taught.

As you might imagine, that unsettled me. How could a “humor challenged” woman prone to melancholy make her less than “happily ever after” story funny?

“Comedy comes from pain.” ~Kevin Hart

According to Forbes, Kevin Hart, was the highest paid comedian on the planet last year. That makes him pretty popular. And he makes people laugh by making fun of himself and finding humor in painful situations in his life … like his fear of the dark and absurd reactions to his mother’s death.

I’m no Kevin Hart, but fortunately for me, I have good friends and many of them find me funny … not for the jokes I tell … I gave up on jokes a long time ago. They find my  comments about the absurdities of life and my wry comments, usually made at my own expense, funny. Sometimes they even laugh uproariously.

If you have ever experienced that side of me, just know that is a sign that I feel really safe with you.

And fortunately for me, I had a good editor. After reading my manuscript, she would not accept my perception that I am “humor challenged.” Hmmm. Had she noticed something in my writing that would at least give my readers a chuckle.

Hey, I’ll take a chuckle anytime.

But, since satire had never automatically flowed from my fingers before, the tongue-in-cheek humor that emerged as I wrote about “happiness” filled me with happiness. 🙂 I noted it as the presence of the Transcendent.

Then, last weekend, some bonafide funny words popped out of my mouth in a phone conversation with a friend I hadn’t talked with for awhile. She was excited to hear that I have finished writing my memoir and that it will be published in 2018. I told her:

“My memoir is in three parts:

The first part is: ‘I’m a mess.’

The second part is: ‘I’m getting my act together.’

The third part is: ‘I think I’m getting the hang of this now.'”

We both chuckled. Later she sent me an e-mail.

“It was so delightful to talk with you this afternoon.  I can hardly wait until your book is published!  Please keep me in that loop so I can get an early copy.”

You, too, could be “in that loop.” All I need is your e-mail and permission to add you to my list. You could send me a message on my contact page. Or, if you haven’t already, you could sign up to receive notifications through my blog. Just saying.

I never cease to be amazed and in awe at the way Spirit works in my life. Today I’m grateful to know that I am seriously not “humor challenged.” My editor confronted me several times with this truth. She will be happy that I finally get it. Groan! Forgive me. Sometimes I can be a slow learner. 😉


  • Judy

    Your editor is VERY happy that you “finally get it.” Hate to say, “I told you so,” but I told you so!! As for not participating in your family’s merry-making, I would simply call that Good Taste.

    • I’m chuckling, Judy,
      And it is OK with me for you to say, “I told you so!!” Because indeed you did. And I did listen. Took me awhile to cogitate on it, but that is my way. Turtle me gets there slow but sure.

  • Oh, Linda, what an awesome post. Could not all our memoirs be broken down into the same three categories? For certain, mine can!

    My warmest congratulations to you on the forthcoming publication of your memoir!! We have much in common in this area with our mutual publishing company, except that I am a little behind you. I have made publication my primary goal and have taken nearly all my loves and activities from my calendar (except my writing group) as I work through these last four weeks with my editor.. What a process! I love writing. And I love your writing. Can’t wait to read your memoir! xo

    • Thank you, Mary Jo,

      I suppose you are right. That seems to be the way life works. It takes some of us longer than others to figure it out.

      We must talk soon. You may not be far behind me at all. Wouldn’t it be fun if we wind up in the same group!

      I admire your commitment to your memoir. I, too, love writing and your last blog was a gem. You are the kind of writer who inspires me. I can’t wait to read your memoir, too. What a journey we are on.


  • Diana

    Now I feel blest because in the ease of our friendship NEVER have I thought of you as ‘humor challenged’ which according to your post must mean you are safe there. That warms my heart!!! I think I also have work to do in this area as I have to explain my jokes because often no one understands them except me!

    • Hi Diana,
      Nice to know that you have never perceived me as “humor challenged.” That’s a label I’ve been carrying for far too long and I’m glad it is gone now. You may be like me … not a jokester … but able to see the humor in life. As my editor says, it’s a matter of taste.

  • Jen

    I, too, perceive myself as serious and humor challenged. I recently wrote a speech for Toastmaster’s humor contest titled, “It’s Hard to Be Funny When You’re Serious.” It wasn’t funny and it helped me access the pain points behind seriousness. It’s a journey…

    • Indeed, Jen, it is a journey. Would love to hear your speech and have another deep conversation. Loved our time together recently and look forward to more meaningful moments with you.

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