Rarely did my dad find a situation where he didn’t find some humor. People who were too solemn or serious bothered him. In one of his more serious moments though, he told my sister Sylvia and me that he wanted us to go with him and Mom to preplan their funerals.
They were in their eighties at the time and both in good health. He said, “I don’t know when we will need it, but there’ll come a time when we will need this, and I think it would just be practical for us to take care of it now.” Sylvia and I did not look forward to this trip, but we complied with our parents’ wishes.
As luck would have it, the employee at the local funeral home was young and fairly new to his job. In selecting the caskets, filling out all the forms, and asking a plethora of questions, he assumed his funeral home posture and tone. I sat there wondering how long it would be before Dad tired of that.
Sure enough, when the young man was completing the last forms, Dad said, “Now, son, don’t get us wrong. We aren’t doing this because we think we are about to die. As a matter of fact, I may slap you in the face with a shovel before it’s over (meaning that the young man might die before him.)” The man stammered and seemed to be at a loss for words with that, but when my dad started his belly laugh, the young man got the point.
Dad took to heart the many times Jesus said, “Be of good cheer.” I don’t believe Jesus liked the solemnity of funerals or illnesses either. He seemed heal or raise those from the dead before a funeral was necessary:
In Matthew 9:2 he healed the paralytic.
Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
Matthew 9:21-23 Jesus healed the woman who had had an issue of blood for years. For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.
Again when the disciples thought they were about to perish, Jesus saved them.
Mark 6:49-51 49 And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”51 Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled.