In the midst of many tears of sorrow, many dull aching heart wounds, many moments of outright despair, we’ve still been laughing in the wind. People around here probably think we’re lunatics. Our family has always had a problem with Church Laughs. Actually, it began with my husband’s family. He and his little sister would find something wildly hysterical at an extremely inappropriate moment, such as when the fat lady sang or at a funeral. The laughter would build up inside of them until tears would be running down their cheeks from the effort of trying to hold it in. It would usually erupt as a really embarrassingly loud snort laugh, which would result in the dreaded Church Pinch. This trait has rubbed off on me (or maybe intensified...I already had the predisposition) and been passed down to our children. Particularly one of them. She laughed so hard and so long when a poor gentleman let one slip out at the movie theater that I had to leave. That was after three Church Pinches had been ineffective.
So even here, even now, we will sometimes find ourselves laughing so loudly that we fear eviction. Especially if that middle child is around regaling us with stories from her crazy life. Or when Kat’s Samford friend Ann Bradford makes me do the Russian dance in the hospital room. Or when James sees the enlarged picture of himself on the wall of Katherine’s room and starts whole-body shaking with excitement. It’s especially wonderful when Katherine makes us laugh. Even with a half-paralyzed face, she can still manage to make such a funny one that we just die laughing. Sometimes through the tears.
We still celebrate, too. If you wait until life is perfect to do so, you’ll never get around to it. There’s always something to be stressed or sad about. But there’s usually something to celebrate as well. Since this trip began, we’ve celebrated several graduations and pregnancies, a first Mother's Day, first Father’s Day, and a birthday. Sometimes we’ve just celebrated life, in all of its crazy mixed-up manifestations. I celebrate the California weather almost daily, even if I only get to experience it for a couple of minutes. I celebrate the fact that every time my grandson sees me, he laughs.
It is a vail of sorrows down here for sure. But there are enough hints and glimpses of how it was and how it will be that we can start the party now, in between and in the midst of the crises. We’ll still find something to laugh about, even in these gale-force winds.
...the Son of Man came enjoying life...
“...And the beggars and saints
Will embrace and dive into
And the Father will laugh
Laugh till he cries
Home at last
Goodbye false notions
Welcome me security...”
from “All Fall Down,” Sarah Masen