Most people I know, who have an inkling of spirituality in their souls, have pondered the nature of God, or the Universe, or their Higher Power. Even atheists that I have known have spent long moments pondering creation before they came to their conclusion that there is no God.
My journey has led me to believe that there is a God, and that specific scientific patterns are followed. I don’t buy that the universe is random and chaotic, although many very intelligent people that I know, believe that it is. Their journey has taken them there. My journey has taken me elsewhere. Who can say whose journey is correct? I don’t tell them that their journey is wrong, and they can’t convince me that what I have experienced isn’t real.
I have had too many miracles happen, too many “just in time” bailouts, too many answers whispered to my soul in the middle of the night that turned out to be correct, to believe in chaos. My God, for me, is very human. He cries when souls are lost, He rejoices when good triumphs, and He consoles when times are tough.
Most importantly, He laughs.
If you are a parent, you already know that children are a great source of humor. My five-year-old grandson tells people that his “winker” has special powers. My ten-year-old son told me not to interrupt his play or I will destroy his “imagitory theme.” Tim’s five year old granddaughter once asked me “Grandma, why are your eyes bald?” on a day when I had not put on any makeup. I laughed at each of these. By laughing, was I ridiculing these children? No, I was simply acknowledging that in their innocence, they did not see the whole picture, and that they made me look at something in a new, humorous way.
I believe God, as my parent, has a sense of humor. Let me share just two examples that happened in my life, that showed me that God laughs.
What Happens at the Malt Shop…
About eight years ago, Jeremiah’s dad, John, had just gotten home from a trip to Las Vegas. He met me at work and took me out to lunch at a local malt shop. He enthusiastically described all the fun things he had done in Las Vegas, from eating dinner amidst jousting, to going on a roller coaster, to shopping at exclusive stores. He kept repeating that he would have to take me there some day.
“You couldn’t pay me to go to Las Vegas.”
“Why? There is so much to do!”
“Las Vegas gives me the creeps. It just seems to me to be a town devoted to disgusting things. Why would I want to go?”
“Well, sure,” he said, “there are some disgusting elements. But they are so overshadowed by the beauty and the endless possibilities of things to do.”
“No thanks. Like I said before, you couldn’t pay me to go to Las Vegas. Somewhere else maybe. Las Vegas holds no appeal.”
At that precise moment, my cell phone rang. It was my boss.
“Hello. I have a proposition for you. Our company [the major cell phone company for which I worked] is having a region-wide training in a couple of weeks. It would involve going out of town and you would miss three days of work, but I would pay you to go, for 24 hours a day instead of eight. Plus, your hotel, meals and transportation would be paid. You would meet other managers from the region. Would you be able to go?”
“Sure. I think the training would be great, plus I would love to meet the other managers. Where is the training being held?”
I had no choice but to turn to John and say, “I guess you could pay me to go to Las Vegas.”
I could almost hear God laughing.
And They Called it Puppy Love…
Flashback to 1971. I was eleven years old and was hanging out with a neighborhood girl named Patty. She was incredulous that I had never heard of Donny Osmond. She showed me Tiger Beat magazine. One look is all it took. I was smitten.
My bedroom walls were papered with Tiger Beat and FaVE magazine posters of Donny. Every cent earned babysitting went to buy records and magazines. Every family member knew that all I wanted for birthdays and Christmas was Osmond paraphernalia.
When I was twelve, my dad surprised our family with a trip to Disneyland. The only thing I could think of was the possibility of meeting an Osmond. I had seen TV shows where the Osmonds performed at Disneyland. What if they were there when I was? What if I saw them walking down the street in LA? When I discovered we would be driving through Utah, my excitement grew. Now I had two states of Osmond possibility since the Osmonds were from Utah.
My prayers began in earnest. “Please, God,” I would pray, “please let me meet an Osmond.”
An Osmond sighting during that trip never materialized. I didn’t lose hope for the next two years. Praying to meet an Osmond was part of a nightly ritual until I was about 14. The Osmonds became less popular and I became less interested as real life took precedence.
Over the years my family still teased me about my teen love for Donny. My mom would always refer to him as my “boyfriend” whenever she saw he was in the news, or when he appeared on a television show. I laughed as I got older because those childhood prayers to “meet an Osmond” seemed so innocent and far-away.
Flash forward to 1997. I had just recently moved to Utah, having married John. I was in line at the movie Titanic when John nudged me. “Merrill Osmond,” he said. Yes, two people ahead of me in line was Merrill Osmond, whiter-haired, but still every bit as handsome. I laughed inside as I realized for the first time that I had forgotten as a child to tell God when I wanted to meet an Osmond. What I would have given to have experienced this moment at age twelve!
The Osmond sightings did not end there.
I saw Merrill at the grocery store.
When I lamented to my boss that I used to have an Osmond album called The Plan but could not still find it for sale anywhere, he surprised me one day with a homemade cassette tape of the album. When I asked him where he had gotten it, he replied that Mary Osmond, Merrill’s wife, made it for me!
I spoke to George Osmond, the Patriarch, on the phone at the cell phone store where I worked.
One day, while managing the cell phone store, in walked George and Olive Osmond, Donny’s parents! It seems that Marie had given them a cell phone for Christmas and they needed assistance in learning how to operate and program it. I sat with them for about an hour, going over the functions. Marie had already programmed all the children’s phone numbers into it, so I showed them how to access each child’s number. Yes, I had Donny Osmond’s phone number in my hot little hand. At this point I almost said, “You got me, God. You got me good.” I felt like God and I were sharing an elaborate inside joke. Very nice people by the way.
I got to see Jay, Merrill and Wayne in concert at a local college. Yup, thirty years after I had prayed to see them in concert. They even had a meet and greet after the concert where they said they would stay until every person had a chance to talk to them. I left. Getting my son to bed was a greater priority. Who’da thought?
Tom Osmond, Donny and Marie’s brother, was my flipping mailman for five years! A hearing loss does not stop him one bit. He always waves hello and stops to speak. He invited Tim and me to his home one night for a multi-level marketing party. I didn’t go. An Osmond invited me to his home and I declined.
Various next-generation Osmonds live in our community, the nieces and nephews of Donny. They go to our local high schools and perform at various community events.
I never get tired of the Osmond overload God has provided. It shows me that He listened to those prayers all those many years ago. I believe He laughs with me when I have an Osmond sighting these days. I believe He may be telling me to be more specific when I pray. But more importantly, I believe He is telling me that the universe is a funny place, if only we remember to laugh.
Daughter Kylie, her friend Clint, and The U.S Postal Service's Finest, Tom Osmond
By the way, today is Alan Osmond's birthday. Yup, I remembered that from when I was twelve.