Real Mission: For the Love of Laughter
The other day I woke up giggling. Like really giggling with a small tear forming on the outside corner of my right hazel eye. I know, I could barely believe it myself. What was so funny? The world is falling apart, people are in pain, the global pandemic still orders our lives and the love of money still keeps us from embracing our otherness.
All of this, and yet there I was, filling the thin space between sleep and conscious thought with a snickering synapse.
My son stood near my bedside, “What’s so silly mommy?"
I didn’t know. There was nothing I could point to that made the merriment come out. No dream I could remember, nothing in particular to be joyful about, nothing ridiculous to recall.
So why was I laughing? I don’t know. Maybe God just knew that I needed to be reminded what it felt like.
I can only imagine how Sarah felt when she overheard those Holy travelers telling Abraham that she would soon become pregnant. She had grown old, gone through menopause, and was settled into a quiet life in her tent as she received Word that her world was about to change.
What’s so silly? Abraham must have wondered. Why are you laughing? And I imagine she didn’t really know. It all just seemed so beyond her that she must have lacked some other more thoughtful response. Something like, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My Spirit rejoices in God my Savior."
All she could do was giggle. And when it came time to explain herself all she could do was deny it. “I did not laugh."
“Oh, yes, you did laugh,” God replied.
I think sometimes life is so heavy that God just looks for ways to break into our pain. Sometimes the pit in our stomach is so deep that God just has to fill it with something. And sometimes we feel so uncomfortable being joyful in the midst of distress that we deny ourselves and others the opportunity to laugh, because it just doesn’t feel appropriate at a time like this.
That morning I got up out of bed, got myself ready for the day, pushed down the laughter and composed myself, because we all know, composure is always preferred to allowing one’s self to be possessed by something beyond your control.
For years Sarah dealt with the pain of infertility, an ancient agony that continues to bring heartbreak to women today. She must have thought about it in the morning when she woke up, at midday when she saw expectant women at the well, and when she lay down near her husband at night.
When you live with sorrow as a constant companion you learn how to hold emotion at bay lest you appear reckless, entitled, or worst of all, outraged.
And that’s when the Holy Spirit breaks in and fills your mouth with laughter or perhaps your fists with rage at the injustice of it all. Sometimes your body cries out when the world tells you to just hold it in. Appropriate be damned. This is humanity.
We are all at the mercy of God, yet living among our neighbors just trying to navigate the injustice of it all. Why does she have what I want? Why am I denied what I need? Why is life such a lottery?
I don’t have the answers. I don’t know why power feels so good, or why we hide from the Truth, or why some children are denied their childhood while adults continue to behave like children. I don’t know why we treat each other as anything but love incarnate.
But I do know that sometimes you just have to laugh, so that you don’t cry.
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