February 02, 2010 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
"In Praise of Silliness"Imagine you have just met someone who recently moved to the United States from another part of the world and that this person has never heard of Groundhog Day.††† This newcomer to our country asks you to explain it.† You begin by telling them about a little town in Pennsylvania called Punxsutawney, and just hope they don't ask you how to spell it.† You explain that a ground hog named Phil lives there and is reported to be immortal, now having lived 123 years.† You conitue with how every year on this date, February 2, Punxsutawney Phil is placed inside of a simulated stump in front of a large, cheering ground.† You then say that the moment everyone waits for is when this rodent, a cousin to the squirrel, emerges from his "stump."† It is then that we find out if he sees his shadow or not.† If he does, it means six more months of winter; if he does not, then spring is just around the corner.†† By this point, you and your friend, are hopefully having a good laugh about how cold weather can get to all of us sooner or later.† Heck, it can even make a group of otherwise rational people invent a winter festival centered around a groundhog predicting the weather!
The point of this fun celebration is just that--it is fun and gives all of us a chance to partake in some silliness.†† Every news station today, and every newspaper tomorrow, will have something to say about the events in Punxsutawney tomorrow.† When our kids were little, like all parents, I used to love reading silly stories to them.† For a child's enjoyment, the sillier the story, the better.† When we didn't have a good story to read, I delighted in making stories up.† I would tell very elaborate stories about a fictional family called the Langerts and all of their adventures.† These stories were just as silly as the stories we will hear about a ground hog today, and they were just as much fun.† Groundhog Day is proof that we never outgrow our love of silly stories. †
There are many, many serious things going on in the world today.† There is a time to be very serious about life, and most of do "serious" pretty well.† But I am concerned that we may have forgotten how to play and be silly.† When was the last time you did something silly?† When was the last time you let your imagination run wild?† When was the last time you played "make believe?"† If you haven't done so in a while, I highly recommend it.† If you need assistance, find a child to help you remember how to be silly. †
Punxsutawney Phil will have his own prediction today.† Here is mine:† Take my suggestion and do something silly today.† If you are not able to be silly, I predict six more weeks of coldness and gray clouds in your life.† If you are able to be silly, I predict that spring is just around the corner.
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