Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

February 12, 2005

Silly So-and-So

If you go back far enough in the etymology of the word "silly," which as everybody knows means foolish or even in a some cases feeble-minded, you will find that it originally meant happy or fortunate or even blessed. Now, you can probably guess why this word made the transit from happy to foolish. It's because happiness makes us foolish, don't you think? Joy is very closely-related to a kind of childish giddiness. You dance a little jig on your way to the car in the morning, and your less-blessed neighbor harrumphs, "What a silly so-and-so!"

If you don't believe me, think back to that moment when you first knew that someone that you loved also loved you in return. Didn't it make you flutter just a little? Didn't it make you want to spread your arms and run in circles making airplane sounds, or go skipping down the street shouting, "She loves me!"

Silly, that's what you were then. Fortunate. Oh, how fortunate. More precisely, you were blessed. And the blessing made you foolish. It made you act like a kid again. People said, "What's gotten into him?" "Must be the silly season!" "High as a kite, that one!"

Now think back to Matthew 5, the "blessed are" verses. I mentioned in a recent post that the happiness of these poor, these mournful, these hungering and thirsting, these merciful and pure-hearted peacemakers, these persecuted ones, was entirely dependent on certain triumphant facts about their future, rather than on the circumstances of their present. Since they are bound for a Kingdom, you see, where they are destined to receive a crown . . . well, however far from now that glorious moment may seem, nevertheless they're blessed, they're happy, right now. One might even suggest that at times they're downright giddy. People call them foolish. Wrong in the head. Silly. But the secret is, they're just blessed.

I don't know, but I think if we really ingested this truth about our future, if we were Kingdom-oriented in our thinking, in our relating with people, in our speaking and living, it would show itself sometimes with a not inappropriate goofiness. If we really get it into our heads that God, the Father of Lights who is pure love through and through, actually does love us, and that he tells us he loves us in all sorts of ways again and again and again, well, it just might make us, every now and then, a little bit silly.


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