One Sign of Health: Laughter in Meetings

Our staff had an especially long meeting last week and – according to consensus – it was a great gathering. There was the sharing of information, there were honest mental health check-ins, there were ideas generated and there was laughter. Lots.

How much laughter is happening in your staff meetings, board meetings, officer meetings, social gatherings? Sometimes when HH (who is also a pastor) is in a Zoom meeting in the next room, I’ll hear gales of laughter and I know it’s a good meeting. It indicates to me that there is love in the room. It indicates that people are on the same page in terms of their mission (e.g. We laugh at all those moments when people are completely missing the point of Church.) We laugh to keep from crying sometimes.

If there is never any laughter, if we leave meetings feeling like we need a drink, if we can’t sleep after an evening meeting, if life is all-intensity-all-the-time then something is not healthy. I’m not saying that there is never pain or dread or handwringing from time to time. But when we who sit around a table together can’t laugh at the absurdities of leading the Church in these days, we have lost something.

Funny story: I got a phone call recently from a church member somewhere (I don’t even know which congregation) complaining that “An Asian Lady” in her congregation had brought “An Asian Flower Arrangement” for the chancel on Sunday morning. And “it didn’t look right.”

Complaining Church Lady explained that she had told her pastor about this transgression and he said, “He didn’t care.” (Probably not his exact words or maybe they were especially if Pastor was coming off a night of sitting with someone dying of COVID or the church treasurer had just resigned.)

My official questions as a Mid-Council Leader in the Presbyterian Church USA denomination:

  • What is an Asian Flower Arrangement?*
  • Did Jesus die for this?

It might have been the end of a long day for me but I think I told Complaining Church Lady to get on her knees and thank God that someone was generous enough to share beautiful flowers with her congregation on a summer Sunday. And how wonderful that they were — apparently — an especially fresh and creative arrangement.

Thanks be to God.

I laughed with people about this story last week, not because I was mocking the CCL, but because we are all very strange humans and we need to get our priorities straight. Every one of us.

And we need to get on our knees and thank God that grace abounds for each of us. Have a wonderful weekend and I hope there will be laughter.

*If you google Asian Flower Arrangements, you’ll find that it really is a particular kind of style of arranging flowers. And it’s appropriate and lovely for any church setting FTR.

Image of people laughing during an important ecclesiastical rite of passage.

One response to “One Sign of Health: Laughter in Meetings

  1. Not fully on topic, but a side note: My colleague was going to go to Japan as part of her sabbatical, but CoVid happened. My mother was going to teach Ikebana flower arranging to our congregation as a congregational part of the sabbatical, but she had a traumatic brain injury. Asian Flower Arrangements are beautiful. I grew up with them, so they are some of my favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

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