Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Power {and Freedom} of Laughter

I'm not sure I quite knew what I was getting into when I decided to pursue participating in Hearts at Home's Third Thursday Thoughts Blog Hop. Here this is, only my second post, and the theme is Unleash your power to Lighten Up and Laugh...and all I could think of were the stupid things I've done over the years. Could I really write about them? And look like a dufus? Well, I decided that I should--I think it's important for we moms to recognize that laughing--even if it's at ourselves--is good for our souls and our confidence.
Anyone one who knows me knows a couple of things are very true:

  1. I really dislike attention. I like to plug away and remain "behind the scenes" as much as possible.
  2. I love to make those around me laugh. The more comfortable I am, the more naturally my wit and humor flow. It truly is a joy to make those close to me smile.
The thing is, I've spent most of my life keeping those two areas separate. Goofs, mistakes, and mishaps have often caused me to want to curl up under and chair and pray every one else would leave and forget about me. If I wasn't in control of the (potentially) funny situation, then I wanted it to all just go away. But things do occur in life, and some of the things in mine can truly be described as "LeAnne Moments". I realized a few years ago that my fears and embarrassments were crippling the authentic person I so desired to be. And with that realization, I began to lighten up, let things go, and fully embrace the life I live...even in the mishaps. And the past 40 years have held many "LeAnne Moments" that it's time for me to fully release. I hope you enjoy them!
  • Things "just happening to me" started in grade school. The summer after 3rd & 4th grade, my friend Heather and I had the chance to attend Project Excel at Bradley University (a gifted program for which you had to be selected). So, in 3rd grade, this 'gifted and talented' girl lost her BARBIE wallet at The Field Museum in Chicago. No big deal. But in 4th grade? I got stuck in a bog on our 'botany day'. Two adults had to pull me out, and in the process I lost a shoe. Not only did I spend the rest of the afternoon hiking wearing one shoe, but I got to wait for Heather's dad--who was a Professor at Bradley and our ride home--on a bench outside his office. And in case you wonder how many college students and employees do a double-take when they see a ten-year old, mud up to her waste, wearing one shoe...well, just trust me when I say it's every single one.
  • And the girl on the playground at recess who once laughed so hard she peed her pants a little? I know that girl. Very well.
  • As a child I had a big imagination. Which is a nice way to say I was always pretending to be a girl in commercials. So when my mom walked into the kitchen, fell flat on her back, and then discovered the floor and cabinets were coated with Pam cooking spray, she never dreamed I (the oldest of four) was the culprit. Have you ever tried to explain the reason the kitchen was coated in Pam was because you were doing an air freshener commercial? Trust me when I say Pam and air freshener are not the same thing (Pam does smell good, but please don't tell my mom I said that).
  • I never, ever drove a car until I went to Behind the Wheel for Driver's Ed. And I was very excited to come home and tell my mom what a great job I did driving stick shift. My mom was puzzled that the car was a stick, especially after talking to me about the clutch & shifting gears and I had no idea what she was talking about.  It look a little bit, but my mom finally figured out the truth that had eluded me...It was an automatic--with the gear shift NOT by the steering wheel, but in the floor panel.
  • Freshmen year of college held a couple of my bigger embarrassments. I attended the University of Iowa, which is absolutely beautiful. And hilly. And one day, as I walked down a snowy hill to get to my classes, it was my turn to land flat on my back. My feet flew completely out from under me and with a "whump" my whole body landed in perfect snow angel formation. And in true best-friend form, Colleen, my college roommate and dearest friend from home, continued to walk down the hill as if she had no clue who I was. So I stood up, straightened my backpack, and calmly pulled my hood back up over my head. A hood FULL of snow. For the record, quiet college freshman have no desire to be that girl who bit it on the hill...did you see her?
  • The next one was my own, true stupidity. As I sat at the desk in my room studying, I got distracted by my tanning goggles. And as a former swimmer, it made perfect sense to put the strap on them in a way that mimicked Swedish goggles (which are very tight swimming goggles that sit just barely around your eyeballs). The goal was to make Colleen laugh. It backfired when, after getting Colleen to laugh, I could NOT get them off my face. The pain was excruciating, and I laughed as I cried. And Colleen laughed, and helped get them off my face...but not before she grabbed my camera and took a picture!! For your entertainment, here is the picture. The giant sweater vest from the Gap circa 1994 is merely an added bonus.
  • Many other things have occurred since college, but one of the biggest was the turning point in how I respond to embarrassing moments. Nearly 4 years ago, my husband took a job as an Adult Ministries Pastor. I'd never been a pastor's wife before, and it was a strange feeling to have people know who I was and I didn't know them. So, I joined the greeter team at church and made a point to move beyond my comfort zone and meet as many people as I could. And after coming home after my second Sunday of greeting, I found I was wearing MISMATCHED EARRINGS:
It was that afternoon, at age 36, when I realized I had a couple of choices: I could act like I never knew and like no one could have possibly noticed; I could become meek, return to being shy and ultimately do a disservice to my husband and his role at church; or, I could accept the fact I had done something silly, and control it instead of letting it control putting the picture of the earrings on Facebook! I chose the Facebook route:

In that moment, and in several moments since, I've chosen to be confident in accepting the woman God made me to be. I may still feel awkward at times, but I'm enjoying life so much more because I'm not allowing situations to be weights around my neck. Instead, I'm owning them, releasing them, and having fun. And that is a wonderful life to lead.

If you really want another "funny" moment that was worthy of its own blog post, click here.

And, you can find other encouragement and sources of laughter from Jill Savage as well as other bloggers on Jill's Website!

copyright 2015 LeAnne Klopfenstein

1 comment:

  1. That Gap vest is pretty incredible... they were all the rage in '94! :D