At first glance, this title seems simple enough.
Of course you can understand a joke. You crack up at Last Comic Standing and you get satire and you can deliver a nice zinger whenever you wish.
Or do you?
I just finished Priscilla Gilman’s The Anti-Romantic Child, and I have come to appreciate the gift of this nuance called joking.
Priscilla comes to find out that her first born son has hyperlexia.
She realizes that his grasp of language nuance may be compromised. At this same time she is a Professor of English Literature at Yale.
Her two lives, Mom of Benj and Professor Gilman allow her to understand with painful clarity what we all take for granted.
“There are so many fundamental and important things that we have and take for granted- the ability to converse, to joke, to
decipher body language, to advocate for ourselves….the ability to have meaningful exchange with another person. We are so lucky!”
After reading this paragraph, I had to stop and reflect on the wisdom in those words.
I have NEVER been grateful for my language skills.
I never considered it anything special that I have quick wit and can understand satire, jokes and sense when someone might be lying. Heck, understanding that I even have the ability to lie is quite evolved. I take all language gifts for granted.
It broke my heart when Priscilla talks about all the challenges that Benj has like the ability to use the first pronoun, I and to call someone by their name is a skill. It means the brain is wired in a way that allows these things to happen seamlessly.
I look at my children and deeply appreciate so much more of all that they are.
I feel the fear that Priscilla Gilman has for the future challenges that Benj will face.
Her strength and fierce love of Benj is palpable, and when she said that she realized LOVE is the best medicine, I had to jump up and cheer.
How many of us take for granted all the little miracles that occur in our lives every minute of every day.
I invite you to take off the lens of ” yea yea, gratitude is great but” and SEE all that is within the things that we love.
Can we accept the people in our lives with all their short comings and still be courageous enough to simply love them.
Can we love ourselves for all that we are and not look first at the faults?
I am grateful to Priscilla Gilman for having the courage to lay bare the sweetness of all that she has learned.
I want a sequel, please. I am invested in Benj. I am invested in you and in me.
Thank you for turning on a light that I did not know was out.
What can you celebrate today about your own self that you did not celebrate yesterday?
Love and light