During these extremely difficult days, we all have a choice: give in to that game called “Ain’t it awful?” or choose to find ways to feel better and perhaps do something to help others feel better, inspired or, at the very least, laugh. Like millions of others, I’m living the lock-down life. It’s weird, but it’s our new — for now. Fortunately, I’m blessed with friends who are dropping off groceries, including cat food for Purrfect. I am also grateful for this animal who makes me laugh when I don’t feel like laughing. Since I am elderly and she is not, we still play the stupid games I touched on in this column a year ago. I recently put that entire feline insanity into story form, and you just might be able to read it in the next “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book of cat stories. I’ll let you know.
For those of you stuck in your homes, here is what I’m doing, other than silly cat games. I’m making contact with others on lock-down. Phone calls, emails and texts are happily received, since in my old normal life I rarely had time to do this. It’s amazing how therapeutic it is to reach out to others – I end up feeling better and, apparently, so do they. If I was still driving, I would be calling those who don’t drive to see if there is anything they need. To be more specific, here is what helps me: first, TV is on only long enough to catch the top of the news; second, at bedtime I list five things for which I’m grateful; third, every day I contact at least five people who are also on lock down.
I’m switching gears now to share a part of me you don’t know much about: the spiritual part. Even before the churches closed their doors, I have enjoyed various services online thanks to internet technology. When I was a kid being forced to attend services, there was no such thing as humor in church. Consequently, I drifted away as soon as I was old enough to drift. Imagine my shock the first time I heard a minister tell a joke – in church! This was a church Burt attended when we first started dating. I agreed to go with him, but only once. I was that fed up with churches. I was curious what attracted this smart, Jewish guy to a church. I was hooked that long ago Sunday, blown away by the laughter, the upbeat music, the clapping, the positive message and the joy.
Fast forward to now: I have my favorite online pastors, and I also turn to the internet for the service by the Newport Church of the Nazarene. Pastor Andy begins his message with a joke. Here is a recent one:
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A small town in the south was being overrun with squirrels. The county courthouse was so desperate they trapped all the squirrels, drove them way out into the country and turned them loose. Unfortunately, the squirrels all came running back. The local library was so inundated with squirrels they brought in a dozen cats to chase away the squirrels. However, the cats did too much damage to the library. Meanwhile, a local church was so overrun with squirrels a committee was formed to come up with an answer.
They baptized all the squirrels and had them attend membership classes. From then on, the squirrels only came to church on Christmas and Easter.
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My personal favorite, told by an online pastor:
A burglar broke into a home one dark night. Just as he was picking up a stereo a loud voice said, “Jesus is watching you!” The burglar was shocked and turned his flashlight in the direction of the voice. The light fell on a large parrot.
The burglar, relieved, said, “Oh, you’re just a parrot. What’s your name?”
The parrot answered, “Moses!”
“Moses?” scoffed the burglar. “What kind of stupid people would name a parrot Moses?”
The bird cocked its head and said, “The same stupid people who named a 150-pound Rottweiler ‘Jesus.’”
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Stay well and safe, dear readers. Take care of one another and know that this too shall pass.
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories as One Woman Journeys from Heartbreak to Healing with Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to Rotary Intl. Fdn. is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie at [email protected]