By Sister Nancy Linenkugel, OSF
There’s no denying it: this worldwide Covid-19 situation is serious. We, like our local, regional, state, country, and global neighbors, are all affected in ways we may never have thought possible. One microscopic germ is shutting down the world.
St. Francis of Assisi was a person of joy. You’d have to be joyful if you willingly chose to be poor, to beg for meals, to gladly accept whatever you were given, and to wander around preaching the Gospel just by the way you lived, don’t you think?
How would St. Francis react to this Covid-19 situation? I think he’d be happily out there helping others however he could while heeding the stay-at-home order as much as he and his friars had a place called home. Francis would make sure that Clare and the San Damiano sisters had what they needed and were safe. He would preach from empty streets to separated persons listening from building windows. He would weep for the conditions in his beloved Italy visible today but resolve even more to do what he and his followers could do to stop the spread of Covid-19, even if that was a seemingly invisible action of praying.
Amid all that seriousness, St. Francis would find joy. He knew that humor keeps a situation from boiling over into despair and gloom. Fear and anxiety are real emotions, but so is funny. Nobody’s immune from Covid-19. As comic Erica Rhodes says, “We need humor as much as toilet paper.”
We’ve all read through THE READER’S DIGEST for decades and enjoyed the humor interwoven among the stories. One column, “Laughter is the Best Medicine” comes to mind right now because laughter IS a great help we can use to get through tough situations. Humor connects us to each other and takes the edge off the seriousness we all feel. Humor will make it easier for us to get through this Covid-19 situation, too.
Here are a few St.-Francis-approved funnies I hope you’ll enjoy:
“This is your pilot speaking. I’m working from home today.”
“We’ve got to start thinking about the world we’ll leave for Betty White when we’re all gone.”
“Prediction: there will be a minor baby boom in nine months and then, in 2033, we shall witness the rise of THE QUARANTEENS.”
“Every disaster movie starts with the government ignoring a scientist.”
“My 30th birthday is today, but I just want everyone to know that I’ll be postponing it indefinitely due to Covid-19. I’ll be turning 30 at a later date. Thank you.”
“Quarantine Diary Day 1: I’ve stocked up on enough non-perishable food and supplies to last me for months, maybe years, so that I can remain in isolation for as long as it takes to get through this pandemic.”
“Quarantine Diary Day 1, 45 minutes later: I’m in a supermarket because I wanted a Snickers bar.”
“This is my Covid-19 stay-cation wardrobe: robe, pajamas, slippers, old sweatpants. Don’t be jealous.”
“I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to Puerta Backyarda. I’m getting tired of Los Living Room.”
(Store clerk passing by with a cartful of toilet paper) “Do you need some?”
(Shopper) “No thanks.” (Do I look like I need some toilet paper right now?)
“Dear Extroverts: You will survive this.
Dear Introverts: Quit laughing. They’re new to this social distancing.”
“The virus doesn’t move—people move it. If we stop moving, the virus stops moving. Then the virus dies. It’s that simple. Stop moving so that the only thing dying is the virus.”
“Our grandparents were once called to war. We’re being called to stay home and sit on the couch. We can do this. American ends in I-can.”
“We’re not stuck at home. We’re safe at home.
Here’s a final inspiring thought taken directly from St. Francis of Assisi’s playbook:
“When the dust settles, we will realize how very little we need, how very much we actually have, and the true value of human connection. Empty streets, restaurants, stadiums, theaters, stores, etc. isn’t the end of the world. It’s the most remarkable act of global solidarity we may ever witness.”
Blessings, everyone, stay safe, and may there be something funny to enjoy.