So, this happened to me today…
In the middle of praying a decade of the rosary…
In front of my 3rd graders.
They either think I have completely lost my mind, or that I’m the coolest teacher in the world.
I. Felt. Horrible.
But I couldn’t stop.
I. Could. Not. Stop.
There I sat, desperately clutching my rosary, feverishly praying that the giggles would stop, trying to think of the most horrifying, sobering event to shock me back to reality and instead…
In my defense, I’ve been functioning on a terrifyingly little amount of sleep, I’m overwhelmed and overwrought, and the temperature outside pretty much stops circulation to the brain so… yeah.
Here’s what happened: We were on the 7th bead, and one of my kiddos raises their hand to lead the next Hail Mary. So they begin.
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among wo-… Jesus?… BLAH!”
So, they start over.
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among wo -.. .Jesus?… BLAH!”
So, I correct and prompt them and they start one more time.
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among wo -…Jesus?… BLAH!”
At this point, I jump in and lead it for them, and we continue on. Everything was seemingly fine until…
The image of the student stopping themselves, shaking their heads, and responding with the desperate “BLAH!” when they couldn’t get the words right suddenly popped into my head. And… it was weirdly hilarious.
So, I burst out laughing in the middle of a Hail Mary. (Because, of course. Why wouldn’t you?)
And as soon as that burst happened, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stop laughing. That image! That “BLAH!”. It was all so stinkin’ funny!
I started laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face. I was doubled over, giggling uncontrollably. I AM 33 YEARS OLD, PEOPLE. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH ME?!
I actually got up, walked away, took a few deep breaths, apologized to the kiddos profusely (who were doubled over in laughter at this point too), whispered a quick apology to the Lord, and began again.
We were on the 8th bead.
Seriously. What is wrong with me?!
In order for us to get through the rest of the decade, I had to sit with my head down, face covered, not saying a word. The minute I tried to join in with them… the giggles started all over again. So, I stopped. And sat there. Like this:
You guys… I swear I am not this person! Or maybe I am. I get the giggles a lot in class. And that bothers me! I’ve never seen another teacher laugh as much as I do. But kids are funny, dang it!
Worse yet, I’ve never seen another Catholic laugh as much as I do. Most Catholics I’ve met are very serious. And never, EVER sarcastic. And here I am, all laughing during the rosary.
I’m like the worst Catholic teacher ever.
But I wasn’t purposely being irreverent. I wasn’t trying to be silly or goofy or inappropriate. It just… happened.
And lately, it’s been happening a lot. I have this weird inner tickle that wells up inside of me that I can’t seem to stop. And even on my worst days, I have this… joy… and I don’t know where it comes from. And I want to embrace it… but it seems strangely inappropriate and unseemly in a lot of Catholic settings. So, I guess it has to come out somewhere. And mine came out during the rosary.
Although Nehemiah 8:10 tells us, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Maybe those giggles and that joy are what keeps me going.
…Yeah. Sure. Let’s go with that.