Laughing fits

Have you ever had one of those laughing fits that threatens to come at such an inappropriate time or place that you have to pretty much stuff your fist in your mouth and try with all your strength to keep it in?
I can remember a good few years ago when I was a table leader on an Alpha course, and my table was for the teenagers doing the course. We were all in the big hall, lots of groups, and our table was right by the speaker. Unfortunately something that was said just hit a nerve and I grinned and it made me chuckle – but then I caught someone’s eye and the hysterics threatened to hit. I was supposed to be there to facilitate the post-talk discussion of course, but also to keep the yoof in good order while we were with everyone else! But through at least 10 minutes of talk I was having to sit with my fist in my mouth, looking at the floor and shoulders shaking to try and contain the laughter. I can’t even remember what set me off on that occassion.
Then there was the time at my friend’s wedding. I was sitting in the middle of a packed church in a row of friends and another friend was preaching the sermon. And one simple line set me off – the passage was Ecclesiastes and my preacher friend was talking about the bride and groom and cleaving together – that kind of thing – and once the image of them as cleavage hit my mind, that was it – fist in mouth – eyes wide in the panic of trying desperately to get control of myself and not disrupt their special service. I saw H next to me with her shoulders shaking too and that just made it worse – look anywhere else but DON’T let yourself see her laughing!!
And then last week, not me this time, but a girl from TeenSon’s college and her mum! We were there for an evening meeting about the UCAS application process, sitting right at the back of the lecture hall when towards the end of the presentation came the sound of muffled noises. I thought someone was crying but it turned out to be this girl having an absolute fit of the giggles and trying to keep it in! I’ve got no idea what hit the funny nerve for her.
And this week. I was taking the communion service, just a little group of us, and we got to the Sanctus – the Holy, holy, holies – and one person just responded in such a way (the nearest I can get to describe it is as if an Irishman started the response a second before everyone else, said “holy, holy, holy” very fast and loud – see, not even that funny!) and it just made me smile as we carried on. But then the thought stayed there and the giggles threatened – at that most reverent moment I had to contain the grin and giggles. Well, I always focus very clearly on the words I’m praying in the Eucharistic prayer, but never more so than that day as I tried to stop playing the voice back in my head. I wonder if God would have forgiven me for suggesting it was ‘the joy of the Lord’ if the laughter had hit?
Hmmm, I’m sure all my laughter doesn’t happen in church, but these ones certainly stick – whatever was God thinking about, calling me to be a vicar?! You have to laugh!

One thought on “Laughing fits

  1. Oh my: how I can identify. I find myself laughing at terribly inappropriate times. Crowded lifts where I know no-one tend to be my current trigger.

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