Sunday, February 14, 2010

Clowns and Godzilla

One morning I was reading a book about the Church, and I came across this story. It was one that I had to share!

“My idea was pretty simple at the beginning. I started to volunteer in wards with terminally ill children or burn victims – just go in there to cheer them up a little, spread around some giggles. Gradually, it developed that I was going to come in as a clown.

First, somebody gave me a red rubber nose, and I put that to work. Then I started doing some elementary makeup. Then I got a yellow, red, and green clown suit. Finally, some nifty, tremendous wing-tip shoes, about two and a half feet long, with green tips and heels, white in the middle. They came from a clown who was retiring and wanted his feet to keep walking.

Things were very tough for me at the beginning – very. You see some pretty terrible things in these wards. Seeing children dying or mutilated is nothing most of us ever get prepared for. Nobody teaches us to face suffering in this society. We never talk about it until we get hit in the face….

Some of us were setting up to show Godzilla in the kids’ leukemia ward. I was making up kids as clowns. One kid was totally bald from chemotherapy, and when I finished doing his face, another kid said, “Go on and do the rest of his head.” And when I was done, his sister said, “Hey, we can show the movie on Billy’s head.” And he really loved that idea. So we set up Godzilla and ran it on Billy’s head, and Billy was pleased as punch, and we were all mighty proud of Billy. It was quite a moment. Especially when the doctors arrived….

Burnt skin or bald heads on little children – what do you do? I guess you just face it – when the kids are really hurting so bad, and so afraid, and probably dying, and everybody’s heart is breaking. Face it, and see what happens after that, see what to do next.

I got the idea of traveling with popcorn. When a kid is crying I dab up the tears with the popcorn and pop it into my mouth or into his or hers. We sit around together and eat the tears.” (From How Can I Help? By Ram Dass and Paul Gorman)

I think these clowns got it. There is so much pain in the world. But in the midst of pain, we can laugh. We can spread joy. Keep your eyes peeled for someone you can make laugh. Laughter will be a welcome change to the tears they shed daily.

And who doesn’t love a Godzilla movie every once in a while?

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