In which being bouncy, flouncy, trouncy and pouncy are step three…

by Craig on January 7, 2011

12 descending steps of pride which in the end destroy all intimacy with God. Because where pride rules, love cannot abide.

Step one is here, step two is here.

And now the third of Bernard of Clairvaux’s 900 year old Steps:

“Foolish Mirth”

Doesn’t sound so bad does it?

It sounds like Bernard is just talking about silliness, giggles, fun – but he’s not.

He’s talking about

something deeper,

more sinister





He’s talking about…

8th Grade.


8th Grade.

I big fluffy hearted 8th grade.

It was a spectacularly marvelous year, I was invited to everyone’s parties, and everybody wanted to be at mine. I was a social Tigger frolicking gleefully in catnip. You know Tiggers right?

Their tops are made out of rubber
Their bottoms are made out of springs
They’re bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy
Fun, fun, fun, fun, FUN!

Well, with all the flouncy bouncy fun fun fun … a lot of homework went undone.

Yes, I rhymed on purpose.

And the letter that looks like an E, except the bottom bar is missing.

Yeah that one.

It made an appearance on my report card. and it brought a friend

or two…

the details of that particular report card are a bit fuzzy.

But F’s weren’t really a problem I thought.

Because F is ever so close to B isn’t it? Just a little curvy squiggle and – there ya go.

And there I went.

And you know that line at the end of Scooby Doo episodes?

The one after the mask of the villain is pulled off,

the one that goes like this…

“And I would’ve gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids.”

That line?

I had an older brother – story over – didn’t have a happy ending.

Step one was about a nefarious curiosity. Two was about frivolity – but the darker side. Three is about 8th grade.

Foolish Mirth

Mirth is good. Mirth is a tiny little division of happiness. Its office is on the 3rd floor of the building and it has a laugh-y face on the door. Because mirth is the kind of happy that laughs. But just like curiosity gets twisted, and frivolity gets turned around, and both lead to an abyss, this kind of mirth, “foolish mirth” does a bendy thing too.

It may just be that every good thing is a little bendy.

“Foolish mirth” is when I bounce and flounce and don’t consider the consequences. It’s when I take important things too lightly. It’s when I find worth, and excessive enjoyment in maneuvers that only lead to trouble.

“Foolish mirth” always takes the shorter, and far, far less noble path to an end.

It incessantly chooses the easy over the hard, flashy over mundane, and fixates on the fleeting without regarding the eternal.

Foolish Mirth finds ways to forsake the narrow way, so frivolity can feel at home, and the answer to the to the “why not” of curiosity can be created in my own image.

Our Lord had zero foolish mirth.

He had mirth – to be sure.

He might even have been silly with the guys sometimes.

But he always chose based on right,  not ease.

It’s not to say that “easy” is bad. Sometimes the scenic view is the more appropriate route. If it is, then I should bounce and flounce down the cupcake lined road.


if the right path

is fringed with heartache

and the wrong one

framed with smiles

I have to accept the heartache

and advance toward the will of God.

Nobody said humility was easy.

Thy will not mine be done.

God Bless

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Alida January 7, 2011 at 9:42 am

Amen…and amen.


Craig January 7, 2011 at 9:44 am

So I guess I don’t need to ask to get an amen – I got two :)
Thank you and God Bless you and yours Alida.


Debbie January 7, 2011 at 11:30 am

Oh how He is using you and these steps. Just last night I was talking with my daughter about humor and laughing and being silly. We do a lot of that. But there is a line not to cross in it, some things that I don’t encourage or want her to pursue. (she’s 19 now, but has a developmental disability – different-ability :) ) We agreed Jesus wants us to laugh and have fun, but not if it involves anything crude or rude or hurts someone. It’s tricky with my daughter, but He knows and helps us! You do that too . . .thank you, Craig!


Craig January 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

Deb, you’re such a good mom. Admiration here – lots of it. And all these steps are so serious – from a monk after all – I thought I better throw in a tiny bit of humor before everyone was driven mad by the heavy. :)


Tina Fisher January 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm

I love the way you put all the stories together for a fun, humorous, yet packed full of meaning post!

Great site! I love wordpress! I almost wish I had the time to make the change!

God Bless!



Craig January 7, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Tina, thank you for reading – and the kind words. God bless you – and again – thank you for coming by.


Anonymuss January 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Craig, this is helpful-to see the difference between legitimate fun and laughter versus gliding lightly over things that need our respectful and serious attention and response. You have fleshed it out in a way that keeps the balance. Otherwise, I might be inclined, personally, to contrast frivolity with a sort of perpetual sober-mindedness that is scowlish and darkish and drab.


Craig January 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I know A. These steps are so subtle.
Then too, they were originally designed for monks – and Bernard I think may have been a little skowlish and darkish. But I’m not. :)


Anonymuss January 8, 2011 at 1:48 am

No, Craig, you are anything but scowlish and darkish! I am back and rereading and thinking ab


Anonymuss January 8, 2011 at 1:52 am

(sorry-hit submit by accident!) …thinking about your statement that pride and love cannot coexist. That is a thought I need to keep front and center when I am feeling self-righteous. Hate to admit that I even feel that way at times but I know I do. It is such an ugly feeling.


Anonymuss January 8, 2011 at 1:59 am

Oy…I am a mutualist when it comes to the issue of who leads-men or women-so I just had a huge ironic chuckle when I realized that every time I want to say something here I have to click on ‘submit’….. to Kreg, the resident male!! That little button needs to say ‘Publish’ or ‘Launch’ or some such! :0


Craig January 8, 2011 at 9:34 am

That’s funny, I never noticed that from that perspective. If it makes you feel any better, every time I reply to you – which is just about every time right? Ever time I reply I also have to hit submit – so it all evens out :)


Craig January 8, 2011 at 9:37 am

And A – if we all didn’t get a little judgy sometimes we wouldn’t be human – the condition is terminal – but there is an eternal cure :)

………aaaaaaaaaan I will now hit submit…


Anonymuss January 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm

So funny! I was only serious, of course. :) And I hadn’t thought you having to hit the same button. Chuckles are good medicine.


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