I’m reading a great book right now called The Most Important Place on Earth, What a Christian Home Looks Like and How to Build One, by Robert Wolgemuth. I appreciate the candid way that he writes; and the book is full of practical ideas on having a home and family life where God is praised. I just finished a chapter called, “Just for Laughs,” where he writes about the fact that when we become stressed by life’s demands, often the first thing we lose is our sense of humour. And this affects the whole family as everyone begins to feel the stress. Wolgemuth highlighted two things for us to remember: we need to be able to laugh at ourselves and to laugh with our kids. You know---be a little crazy sometimes!
Karlyn and Ashlyn have lots of laughs together.
"How can you expect me to be happy when you put me in this contraption??"
It seems a fitting reminder for us as we settle into PNG life again. If we don’t laugh, we could easily become frustrated. For example, when we drive on the roads, which we do everyday, of course, we need to laugh—out loud! We had hoped there would’ve been reason for a name change while we were gone, but alas Lae is still dubbed, “Pothole City”, and rightfully so. Many of the main roads are literally covered with deep potholes. As a result, at times we bounce around like that little ball inside a pin ball machine. The game continues as you play chicken with the cars in the other lane--they move over to avoid the craters on their side and you’re doing the same thing on your side! Honestly, you just have to laugh about it…but you have to show a little restraint while you’re driving.
Then there’s power black-outs and water shortages; difficult landlords; the heat; our sloooooow and inconsistent dial-up connection; and such things as perpetual promises for services “next week”, but next week never seems to come! Yes, many times we just have to shrug it off, find the humour in the situation, laugh and keep on going!
But there are other things here that are more difficult to laugh about, actually impossible. Like the story we heard from a member of our church of a woman being tortured and a man being stoned—both to death. It seemed their slavery to a cultural norm passed down from their foreparents wouldn’t let them. Then there is the abuse we know that is happening to women—wives, mothers and daughters—also in our church. Or, the sick people that become sicker on account of a poor and unreliable healthcare system. The list goes on. Things that make you cry more than laugh. These things remind us why we’re here and make us thankful that ultimately God is in control. We do continue to pray that He will change hearts and lives here and that peace and righteousness and hope will reign in ever increasing measure here in Lae and all throughout PNG.