Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Making God Laugh

You hear words or phrases repeated within a short period of time. Things you have never heard before, but are not new or unique. Does it mean something? Are there messages in these connections?

Pam recently gave me a recording of Billy Collins reading his poetry. It was recorded last spring in New York. During some of his banter between poems, he quotes a friend who had told him the following line: How do you make God laugh? Make a plan.

I asked a pastor friend if he had ever heard that joke. He smiled and said that he has it on a plaque in his office: Make God laugh. Make a plan.

I am reading Semaphore by G.W. Hawkes (a plug for Lycoming here: he heads the creative writing program at the College). Last night, I read this passage:

“…but time had taught him that Time decides. His father had said it once: Man plans; God laughs.”

Why would I run across this line twice within a week? A line, or joke, or phrase, that I have never heard before? It clearly is an old chestnut, probably spoken from pulpits worldwide for eons. There are plenty of pithy, interesting phrases that I have never heard or for which I am not familiar. But why this one, now?

Far too deterministic. But I no longer discount this type of connection….

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