After the ladies’ meeting, several of the Congolese women walked beside Cathy and Alessandra. Mama Tshala invited Alessandra to go to her garden with her that week and spend a whole day doing tasks there. Alessandra agreed, looking forward to the opportunity. Alessandra then paused to ask if it were safe in the jungle.
“I’d hate to run into a lion or something,” Alessandra said.
Cathy translated her statement and the Congolese laughed uproariously, making Alessandra feel like an ignorant child.
“Why are they laughing?” she queried, somewhat irritated.
Cathy challenged gently, “Alessandra, these women have so little to laugh at. If you willingly sacrifice your wounded pride to bring a laugh to these ladies, you could add many happy memories to their archive of sad ones. It was the use of the word ‘lion,’ Alessandra. There are no lions in this part of Congo. The famous big cat of the Congo is the leopard, but they are very private and rarely seen. One hasn’t been spotted in this area in more than twenty years.”
Alessandra then asked about snakes, which prompted one story after another from the Congolese about snake experiences. Cathy translated, and the chat continued all the way to their front gate.
Being humble enough to be laughed at is a great gift to those around us, offering pleasant memories. Ephesians 4:2 encourages humility, “With all lowliness and meekness, forbearing one another in love.” Alessandra needed to learn to be humble enough to tolerate the laughter of her new Congolese friends. This is also a gift we can practice. Bearing the brunt of a joke can lead others to laugh, causing them to release happy hormones and store beautiful memories in their mind. Let’s embrace this kind of meekness.