“Do you care if we have to steal something?”
This was the question my neighbor asked me one night at ten p.m. when our bathroom pipe had burst, water was spraying everywhere, and I had frantically pounded on her door to ask for help. I had no idea how to find a plumber in Asia at that hour.
My options were very limited at that moment, so I kinda shrugged to her question, and followed her as she jogged down the stairs to our parking lot. She strolled to an old bike leaning against the building. The vines growing through the spokes of its wheels attested to how long it had been sitting there. She began to pull off the front tire, and mumbled something about the inner tube.
Within five minutes, the raging water in our bathroom had stopped, and our neighbor had fiercely wrapped the inner tube of the bicycle tire around the hole in the pipe. She patted me on the shoulder, smiled, and said, “Tomorrow we’ll call a plumber.”
Our life overseas had exploded with hilarious moments that you simply could not make up.
Like the time my boys were asked to perform in a martial arts competition, and when they got there, found out they were the “half-time” show for a fashion show. And my four boys – boys! – kicked and punched and performed their Taekwondo on a glass catwalk.
Or every year when classes began and our students would tell us their names were Casual…or Vitamin…or Abraham Lincoln…or Magazine…or Pole.
Or, the time my husband brought a friend to the hospital, and after he paid the required deposit on her gurney (who steals gurneys, by the way?!), they pointed to his two choices. One gurney had all kinds of scary dried liquids on it. The other one had a tooth.
Or, the time we went to a local friend’s wedding, and before we blinked, our boys found themselves walking down the aisle, holding the train of the bride’s dress, with a horrified “I-am-a-boy-and-could-anything-be-worse” look on their faces.
Or, when my parents came to visit, my doctor father was asked to give a speech to a group of doctors at a hospital in our city. Twenty doctors, they said. When we got to the hospital, it was an auditorium full of hundreds of people, with tv cameras rolling. After impressively pulling off a speech to this large hospital, the leaders invited him to a big presentation to formally present my dad with a gift. It was a plastic moon with a little boy sitting on it and it played, “It’s a Small World After All.”
Or, another time when the city finally turned the heat on, our radiator started spraying dirty water all over our boys’ bedroom. Again, I banged on the door of our neighbor. What did she do to stop the madness? Jammed a chopstick into the hole of our radiator.
You cannot make this stuff up.
When they were babies, our boys were handed everything from strangers, hard candies, walnuts, cigarettes. It didn’t matter that they didn’t have teeth and couldn’t walk yet.
In one city, we lived in an apartment that had rats. My dear husband, Tim, finally nailed up some chicken wire over our radiators to try to keep them from getting inside our home. One afternoon, we’re asking our great God to keep the rats away and to help me not to be paranoid. We were wrapping up, but then suddenly Tim told me to keep praying. He had opened his eyes and saw the rats sitting right on top of our radiator next to us at that very moment, happily joining us in prayer, it seemed.
Life overseas can make you laugh until you cry. Sometimes it just makes you cry. But I have found that the old cliché really is true: laughter truly is great medicine. It has made our life in Asia filled with memories that our family returns to again and again and again.
When the pipe is bursting, and when the pizza guy tells you they can’t make a plain cheese pizza because they only serve Hawaiian, or when you find yourself using charades to a ridiculous level because you don’t know how to say band-aid, stand back, look at your life through the lens of laughter, and let the hilarious memories and stories begin.
God often reminds me that I am not the Author of my story. Sometimes I forget and think that I am the one with the pen. But then I realize, I most certainly would never have written such a wild story. The Father has delighted to write this overseas chapter into my life, to invite me into rooms of my heart that I didn’t even know existed. I would never have imagined to direct the story that He has. And I most surely would never have added all of the comic relief. I’m so glad He did.
How has the Lord been using humor to help you see your circumstances in a different light? What situations have shocked you, surprised you, and given you a good laugh?