For a while this really perplexed me. It was one of the major things that kept my up at night before ordination. Won't everyone think I'm ridiculous? Won't they look at me and think 'Who on earth does she think she is?' Won't they sit and remember the catalogue of daft things I have said and done, and my goodness it is a catalogue, and wonder why I possibly think I am the right person for this job? It's a scary thought, really, to put yourself out there for public scrutiny, and particularly into a role where people expect you to be, well, so sensible all the time.
|Silliness in Rome|
I'm pretty sure that I have an unending and deep well of silliness in me. The notes that came back from my interview to train as a Vicar said 'Nicola laughs easily' and it couldn't be more true. I like an awful lot of silly things, it is just how I am. I don't do much that is very worthy in my own time. I am most likely to be watching the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills or any other Housewives ITVBe cares to show. I recently sang Taylor Swift Shake it Off at church in the Vestry.
|I can't help it. I love them. (from tvweek.com)|
But recently I've been thinking about how important it is to retain a sense of silliness and to take ourselves lightly. Silliness, I think, helps us to remember that we are one little person, capable of wonderful things to be sure, but limited nonetheless. At best we are a cog in the machine, a stepping stone on the way, an ingredient in the recipe. But rather than this knowledge squashing us and making us feel insignificant instead I think it can make us feel free.
|Silliness in Zambia|
I wonder if it is when we start to see ourselves as the whole deal, when we are unwilling to be silly and the vulnerable little people that we are, that the fun and potential starts to drain out of things. Suddenly we have to be everything, do everything all on our own rather than accepting that we are just one person, fabulous and flawed, doing the best that we can. When we lose a sense of that we limit others by needing to be everything ourselves. We limit ourselves by not being able to accept that we get some things right and some things wrong, life is for learning, and that is just what it means to be a human being.
In a service at church recently we were praying for healing and wholeness and these beautiful words popped up, 'We have this treasure in earthen vessels to show that the power belongs to God'. What a beautiful reminder of all that it is to be a human being, it is treasure but treasure contained in a fragile and limited thing drawing its source and life from something much bigger than itself. What a liberating idea. We don't have to be everything. We just have to be what we are.
And I think silliness reminds us of that. How can you take yourself so seriously with a sombrero on your head? Silliness is freeing, it is life giving, it reminds us who and what we are. So what are you waiting for? Embrace silliness today!