Lessons in Laughter

I really need to start taking lessons from my (Jewish) boyfriend on laughing at yourself. As you might have guessed from my previous entry, I am a perfectionist (part-time anyway). This means that making mistakes can ruin the moment and sometimes the day. I had a blessed experience today, that I could easily have continued to complain about. But Yahweh opened my heart to see the humor in the situation.

As a perfectionist, I have a tendency to think that things have to be done in a specific manner. The truth is that there are many ways to skin a…potato. Today I  had to ship my books back home, and I had to use a special bag to ship them cheap by boat. So, I had done all the research to find which post office to go to, and how much it would cost. I thought I had 25 kilos (60 lbs) of books, and according to the price chart it would be $300 by EMS but $200 by boat. I also had to ship something home for my sister because she leaves for Mozambique two hours before I get home. Thankfully, I had received $300 from my program (extra money!!), so I was not worried about how much I’d have to spend. I had it all figured out.

So, once I got out of my last class I hurried home, and quickly put my books in a suitcase because Yahweh reminded me how heavy carrying a 30 lb cardboard box would be. I hopped on the bus to the train and took that to the next town over. I had a feeling that I was going to the wrong post office, and when I get their my intuition was correct. The clerk knew nothing about a special book bag. I was about to go into despair and start crying because it’s already four o’clock and I had to get everything sent today and if I had to go home with a suitcase full of books it would be tragedy. However, God reassured me that my books will be shipped and all will be fine. So I grabbed a taxi and headed on over to the nice big post office.

This is where things finally turn around, and I realize the blessing Yahweh had had in store for me. I entered the post office, and I asked the first clerk I see about this special book bag. He’s a sweet older gentleman, and he seemed eager to help. He didn’t know about book bags either, but he was trying to help me with what he could and offered me a box. I ask if I can ship it by boat, because I had to do it by boat, even if it was in a box. “It’ll take 2-3 months.” Okay…SAL it is. Then, of course, I pick a box that is too big. They kindly tell me it’s alright to have extra room, and when weighing my box, it’s 12 kilos, not 24! This means that even by SAL it costs around $150. Translation: Even with train fees, bus fees, taxi fees, and my sister’s package, I spent less than I had planned! Halleluyah!

I had other things to send, so in the end I spent probably twenty minutes at this post office. The clerk was very nice to me the whole time and very helpful. He even gave me directions to the other train station. The anxiety I held walking into the post office had turned into joy, relief, and gratitude. Leaving the post office, I almost started criticizing myself. Why hadn’t I gone to the right post office? Why didn’t I just go to one closer to my house? Why did I have to make a fuss about the special book bag? But then Yahweh spoke shalom into me. This trip was not about you, but the ojisan. (Yes, even God talks to me in Japangrish. Ojisan is old man in Japanese.) Ooh, God had brought me all the out here to be a smiley foreigner girl for a little old clerk.

It’s incredible the way God does things like that. I was dwelling on my actions and my mistakes, but God was bringing my attention to what He had done to bless me and especially the clerk. There had been no need to worry, because it was not dependent on me. He was using this small event to remind me of His sovereignty, and of His hand in my life.

Maybe this post doesn’t sound very funny after all. I’m still working on my comedic style, I wouldn’t even know how to make this sound funnier. But I was laughing with God at myself, and it felt really good. It is an incredible feeling to be able to laugh at yourself. I hope I can learn to do it more in the future.

Oh, and a bonus funny point? There are three train lines in my area, and I’d used two of the three all year. Today I rode the third for the first time. Oh the funny things that happened to me today.

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