Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Line in History

When I asked him about whether it was good or healthy that he made fun of that part of his life he responded by asking, “How do you break a line in history?” I took this to mean either how you break the line of history or how you create a line in history. How do separate then from now? This is what I took him to mean. However, what he said was, how do you break a line in history. Perhaps it should be read, how do you break a line in history. Humour or especially laughter assumes a sense of distance and perspective. This is certainly true in the cruelty and self-preservation of laughter. Here laughter insulates or objectifies.

Perhaps this is not humour at all but something else. True humour may be the precise opposite. Humour allows the raw absurdity of reality to have its way if only for a moment but it is also more than this. Humour (godly humour?) allows this reality to hit us, to flow in and through us, in a posture of faith that transcribes its significance for us.

“We will laugh about this someday” is a gesture of hope that can be realized. One day we will find ourselves in a position of both vulnerability and security in which certain lines of history (and there are many) can be broken and forever transformed.

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