Janet was laughing hysterically, but at what? She seemed to always be celebrating something. I wondered what her secret could be, so I made it my project to watch her and find out the source of her delight. How jubilant she was at work as she clowned around with her associates. Everyone expected some anecdote or silly joke from her continually; in fact, they craved it. It brought them relief from the seriousness of life, and it gave them a refreshing opportunity, however brief, to laugh.
One day at work Janet was walking toward me, and she had a distraught look on her face. As soon as she saw me, she went into the clown act faking a laugh and trying to hide the angst that I had just seen. As she passed me, I followed her into the lady’s locker room. Skulking around the lockers, I found her sitting on a bench in the corner bawling and whaling. I moved in to comfort her. As I put my arm around her shoulder, she grabbed me in a bear-hug and wept all the more. Where was the clown now? Between sobs, she told me of her tragic home life and the loss of her baby boy. Her husband was an abuser and she blamed him for her son’s death. I was stunned. I prayed for her and just sat with her.
Janet’s clown-act was a cover up for her pain and it gave her a favorable reputation in the eyes of outsiders. It even gave her a bit of relief, but it did not solve her problems. She had some choices to make if she was going to survive. This experience has taught me to always look past the exterior of people if I am to bless and help them. From now on, I see the clown-act as an indicator of something deeper, something amiss. The next time God brings such a person before me, I will ask Him to give me an open door into their heart so that I may offer them the love of Jesus. He alone is their answer.