An old figure of speech popped into my mind in the early morning hours, “Ain’t it funny?” As I began to research the statement in my mind and account for how it is used in everyday life, I quickly wondered how it applied to me. It is generally understood that most people use this phrase when sarcastically applying humor to an otherwise difficult situation or in an attempt to try and understand a serious situation in life. I found in my brief journey into the experiential application of this phrase that my usage of it isn’t actually humorous. Actually I knew just from typing this discourse that the statement wasn’t kosher when a red squiggly line appeared underneath the word “ain’t”, which was even the computer’s way of saying the word itself is incorrect, but yet I pressed forward.
In my personal application I could easily say that ain’t it funny how people can be close to you, but yet not know you? Ain’t it funny how people can have an opinion about you that they believe is right, but is unbelievably wrong? Ain’t if funny how you can help so many people, but struggle when you need help? Ain’t it funny how you have no limits in assisting others, but they have limits in assisting you? Ain’t it funny how people can think so much of you until you do something that they don’t understand and now they think little of you?
Ain’t it funny how you can courageously follow God’s heart, but when you do, it’s falsely attributed to your poor judgment? Ain’t it funny how people will encourage you to do good, but won’t help you do it? Ain’t it funny how people can want you to be free, but when you are, they want you bound? Ain’t it funny how you can’t get encouragement from the people who should be giving it? Ain’t it funny how you can know what people need, but they really don’t have a clue about what you need? Ain’t it funny how people can be so giving, until it comes to you? Ain’t it funny how you can be standing in front of people, but they still can’t see you?
OK. I think you get the message; I most certainly did. Typically when people use, “Ain’t it funny?” it’s usually to mask a serious matter and psychologically attempt to cope with it. At the very root of this expression is the desire to understand and adjust to the negative things that happen to us in life. The flip side to this expression is that if you can laugh at some of your trials, it speaks volumes about your level of maturity. I don’t mean laugh because you are insane, immature, or legitimately grieving; but your laughter is because your perspective of the situation is transcendent of what it appears to be. Being able to laugh because you realize that negativity will not define you is a reason to laugh. Being able to laugh because you understand that bad situations don’t define you is a reason to laugh. Being able to laugh because no matter how many people try to put you in a box and you realize they can’t is a good reason to laugh. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said “Nothing shows a man's character more than what he laughs at.”
So while I think that most of the time when we say, “Ain’t it funny?” it really isn’t. Maybe from now on we need to change our perspective and use Mark Twain’s strategy. He said, “Laughter is the greatest weapon we have and we, as humans, use it the least.” I believe our response and posture to an “ain’t that funny?” situation should be laughter. Why not employ the method of laughter to resist the disdain of depression and the blistering impact of a stinging arrow? If laughter is a weapon and I believe it is, then let’s use it. So the next time you hear something negative or encounter a situation that’s trying to attack your vision for life, pull out your automatic weapon of laughter and let it rip! And if you should pass me on the street or view a future writing of mine and you see a lot of humor or indications of laughter on a page, just know I’m enjoying life in a deeper dimension because I refuse to cry when I can be fighting with laughter! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! “Ain’t that funny?”
Dr. A. G. Green
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