There’s nothing wrong with laughter and humor. In fact, Solomon touched on the subject in Proverbs 17:22; “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
Humor is almost always appropriate - as long as the humor is tasteful, and doesn’t degrade. A spirit of joy, mixed with humor is not only appropriate but irrepressible at a funeral in which a spectacular life is being celebrated.
I recently had a part in the funeral of one of our faithful church members, Therman “Snoopy” Campbell. An overflow crowd jammed into the funeral home in Arlington for an event that would normally be a somber, sad time. But the walls were bursting with expressions of joy, laughter and humorous remembrances. Snoopy lived a very full and purposeful life. He ceased upon each moment of his life to be a blessing to someone. He was a lieutenant in the Army, a retired airline pilot, retired law enforcement official — he could do magic, and I’ve seen him do his magic show to children who were waiting in line to eat at a restaurant. I have also seen him do it for an unsuspecting healthcare worker in a hospital waiting room at 6 a.m. He was always the life of the party, always bringing a smile to people’s faces. But most of all, he loved Christ, his family, and his country. Not only did he live for Christ, but shared Him at every opportunity.
So is it any wonder that the room where his memorial service was held, was brimming with laughter and joy? To celebrate a life well lived is to find joy and gladness, even in the midst of grief.
Another very significant life well lived was by a man, who is a legend here in Waxahachie - Clarence Wilson. The entire community knew and loved Clarence. His daily walk exuded an intimate relationship with Christ.
When Carolyn, the twins and I moved to Waxahachie in 1985, one of the first cars to pull into our driveway was Clarence and Lila. They brought us a huge Italian cream cake, but the greatest part of the visit was when they let us know we would be included in their deacon care ministry. From that moment on, we had a joyful and loving relationship with this sweet couple and their large family.
I attended Clarence’s visitation at Wayne Boze Funeral home Monday evening, and was overwhelmed, but not surprised by the long line, which encircled the large visitation room, the hallway and the chapel. I stood in line for well over an hour, in order to visit the family. Clarence was an extremely active member of Farley Street Baptist Church since the late 1940s. He and Lila strongly influenced their children and grandchildren likewise to love the Lord. Although I was unable to attend the memorial service at Farley Street the following day, I passed by the church and realized by the overflowed parking lot, including several firefighting vehicles, that it was no doubt the largest crowd to ever assemble at the church. That crowd was assembled to celebrate a life well lived.
And the tone of the visitation the night before, was replete with expressions of joy - laughter, and hearts of gratitude for this wonderful life well lived.
I have been inspired by these two lives, to seek to live what life I have left to the glory of God, and for the purpose of serving God, my family, the church and others. A life, which can be celebrated for those reasons, is truly a life well lived.