I don’t know about you, but I often hide behind humor when life seems like too much. Often, the pressures, and the schedules, put my poor introverted soul on overload.
Between family life–with kids in school–and the demands of work–where I feel like a corporate drone–me feels really squeezed. (I can only imagine how it is for my wife, having primary responsibility for kids, house, shopping, etc.).
And squeezed is how I’ve been feeling lately. It doesn’t matter that I’ve not been sleeping well for ages–I have to perform (I have a family to support). No matter how much I’ve not slept, I have to be up at a certain hour to ensure that the kids get to school on time (which I couldn’t do without my wife’s help). So not. A. Morning. Person.
And then it’s on to work, which has been really busy of late (not a bad thing, per se, but when you’re feeling rundown, burning the candle at both ends…). This busyness makes the days pass, certainly, but again leaves me feeling squeezed.
I live for my lunch hours, when I can do my thing. I can read, I can quite, I can pray.
And I can engage in snarky humor on the Internet.
Indeed, that last seems to be my go-to option. When I’m squeezed it’s not always the sweet wine of the Spirit that pours forth, but rather the vinegar of my sarcasm.
Oh, sure, you tell yourself. Surely he knows better. Well, not always. Every dumb joke, every cutting remark, every bit of snidely snark, is borne out of the pressure I feel inside. And every single one seemed a good idea at the time.
The truth is: humor is often a mask that hides my pain. If you asked me, I’d tell you that I don’t want you to hurt, but I think somewhere deep down inside, I do.
I want you to hurt. I don’t know why. I suspect, while not the cause, it has something to do with having an absentee dad, growing up a child of divorce, not really having any appreciable boundaries as a child. Whether positively, or negatively, I want you to react to me.
(Some have recognized this for what it is, and have stuck by me; and in a sense, loved me out of my “funk.”
Others, I’ve hurt too badly, and they’ve (rightly) said “Hasta la vista, baby!”)
Because there were no real limits imposed upon me, I had no real sense of security, and thus no real feeling of love. My mom did her best to raise my brother and I, but this often meant that she worked two jobs to keep us afloat. (I don’t know if this makes sense, but it often seemed that she was the counselor (her profession), and not “mom.” Because, as a teen I needed a mom more than I needed a counselor).
Which means that we did largely as we pleased. Consequently, even to this day, as a believer in Jesus Christ, I have great trouble with accountability. I don’t like being called out, and try to explain away my behavior.
Which drives my wife nuts, because she’s my wife–not my mother. And she shouldn’t have to be.
So if I’ve hurt, slighted, offended, or nailed you with inappropriate humor, I hope the preceding serves at least as some form of explanation. I’m trying to be better.
I’m sorry that I’ve hurt you with my jokes, tweets, whatever. Please don’t give up on me, and continue to call me out.
I promise to let you know when I’m hurting–instead of hiding behind the humor.
The reason I share this is simply because I know I’m not alone in this. The world is full of hurting people. By being honest like this, I hope to give you the only gift I can: that of going second.
I’ve put my flaws out there for the world to see, and it’s my hope that you (whether here, or not) will be encouraged to do likewise.
Have you ever done this? Hurt someone close (or perhaps not so close) to you with caustic remarks all in the name (ostensibly) of trying to bring the funny?