Liberated from my Fear of Clowns!

My wife and my assistant, Rodrigo, spent the morning at a public elementary school in Guatemala with six-hundred children.  I spent the morning with my new son, Rubén.  I was trying to give my wife a break and let her do what she loves to do which is sharing the love of God with children and women.

Last week when I told the police chaplain about the upcoming event in the school, he suggested that we invite his friend "Payasito Perez" [Little Clown Perez in Spanish] to be a part of the program.  The treat for me was that I got to have lunch with the clown.

As a child I was somewhat afraid of clowns.  My new clown friend explained to me why that was.  The clowns were not wearing the correct make-up and the make-up of a clown has to be oriented toward a certain age group.  Not only that, there are different kinds of clowns for different age groups and with different purposes.  Some apparently focus on specific age groups, or spread a particular social message, or are trying to transmit something even beyond joking around.

He went on to tell me it's really all about a clown's motivation, upbringing, goals, training, and accountability.  I felt like the proverbial frog in the middle of a hail storm.  He was pelting me with thoughts that were absolutely unexpected.  This clown was rocking my world!  I had no idea that being a clown had such a technical element.  I began to ask questions.

Apparently the biggest issues that plague clowns is their own lack of discipline and failure of aiming toward excellence.  They are also tempted by greed or too much ambition.  Some are lazy and don't want to be trained properly.  And, believe it or not, some steal the jokes and tricks of others and simply repeat them without improving on them.

I was stunned.

How is it possible that I have made it this far in life without knowing anything about clowns?

Never again will I refer to anyone else as a "clown" in a moment of disgust.

My lunch partner has 15 clowns working for him, designs and sells their costumes, trains them, keeps them accountable, sends them out, and occasionally fires one or two incompetent clowns.  He is a master performer and has a waiting list for customers that can be more than one year long.   His own children long to be clowns when they grow up.  Who knew?

I told my wife after our clown encounter that I can't believe how seriously clowns take clowning.  And, that, I know many Christian leaders who could learn a little something from my new clown friend.  How many of us put the effort into living for God with the dedication of this so-called clown.

My wife heard the clown say in front of  hundreds of children that the reason he clowns around is that his mother had died when he was a child.  He only remembers hugging and kissing her one time.  God used that horrendous event to call him into a life of making children smile, telling them of his overwhelming faith in Jesus, and being the most responsible clown I will ever meet in my life.   His passion for God, love for people, and dedication to his ministry are contagious. And, that's no joke.


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