“Oh well,” I would say.
“That’s an old hole in the ground now, isn’t it?” My father would reply.
I would roll my eyes in that superior way that only teenagers can do. It was not a new joke. And it was not funny the first 400 times I heard it.
Then one day, years later, the unthinkable happened.
“Oh well,” a friend sighed.
“That’s an old hole in the ground now, isn’t it?” I said.
“An ol’ well? That’s an old hole in the ground.”
And inside I laughed and laughed and laughed. Because apparently things that drove me batty as a teenager have become uproariously funny now that I’m older.
Heaven help the poor soul who accidentally says, “Well, well, well… What do we have here?”
Because that’s a whole lot of holes in the ground now, isn’t it?
There’s just something about punny dad jokes that beg to be repeated from generation to generation. They drive us crazy, but then we are compelled to inflict them on others with a sense of wisdom from the ages: You may think this is a terrible joke now, but someday you will thank me.
The joke doesn’t change, but we do.
We grow and change into our own personality, but we pick up quirks from those in whose footsteps we follow. This is true of our earthly parents, siblings, and mentors, and it is also true for our heavenly ones. The Bible tells us that just as we have born the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven (1 Corinthians 15:49). At the end times, we will all be changed in the twinkling of an eye, but in the meantime, our transformation is happening much more slowly.
With Christ as our example and this world as our crucible, we learn obedience, self-control, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, and love. Our heavenly Father calls us to mimic His perfection, and the Holy Spirit within us prompts us toward right decisions.
The more time we spend learning God’s word, listening for the Spirit’s prompting, and communing through worship, the more our heavenly parentage will be reflected within us.
Christ’s light shines within each one of us as surely as the DNA of our physical heritage. It might be years before a spark within us now is parroted back to a subsequent generation, but there will come a time when we laugh uproariously with the knowledge that this word, this action, this punny dad joke was learned from our heavenly family.
Janet Beagle, Ph.D. serves as director of graduate programs for Purdue University’s College of Engineering and is a writer, a Bible study teacher, and a student of God’s word. In her spare time, she likes to eat other people’s cooking and hike with both two- and four-footed friends. Read more of Janet’s Christian reflections at www.mustardpatch.org