Trudging home from work one day, I realized it’d been a long while since I’d laughed.
(((snort))) on occasion, yes.
But full-out belly laugh, well, I strained to remember what it felt like. Discouragements at work and from people and situations out of our control weighed heavily on my shoulders for weeks in a row. And on top of it, I felt raw and triggered from the hard work of abuse recovery.
I longed to laugh.
Other folks seemed to laugh so easily. My children laughed. (I praised God for that.) Yet, I longed to laugh along with them.
Eventually, I pulled out the one thing that always centers me . . . always reminds me of how far God has brought us and how much He has blessed us . . . always reminds me of the laughter floating like notes along the long measures of our lives:
I pulled out my scrapbooks.
For several days, I cut and pasted, mounted and arranged months and months of photos stuck in my computer, begging to be placed on a page and celebrated. As the photos fell into an organized, rainbow of rhythms and crescendos, I began, once again, to laugh.
I rounded the corners of a photo of three boys hanging like monkeys on the swing set.
I mounted a photo of a son cradling his brand new puppy in his arms.
I cropped a photo of another son, arms raised in glee as an ocean wave crashes and splashes all around him.
(((giggle, a bit more this time)))
I pulled out years and years of completed albums, and my boys sat around me, looking at their once-pudgy arms, diaper-clad booties, and faces covered in birthday cake.
(((belly laughing at last)))
I enlarged a photo of green, velvet moss pushing past the silver white snow all around it, alongside the path my family trekked along one fine spring day.
Brokenness, in all its forms, weighs us down. Revisiting the good days gives evidence of a God who walks beside our slumped and lumbering frames; a God who delivers His people, even today, and who returns despairing exiles to a place where they can stand tall and laugh once again.
As the Psalmist writes in 126 (The Message version):
It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God returned Zion’s exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations—
“God was wonderful to them!”
God was wonderful to us;
we are one happy people.
And now, God, do it again—
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
Do it again, God.
Bring us home laughing.
Though some of us have spent time planting in despair, lead us to the place where we can laugh and shout hurrah at a glorious harvest.
Part the clouds of life so we can hear the song of Your goodness once again . . .
. . . and laugh . . .
. . . and laugh . . .
. . . and laugh.
Question for you: where do you find laughter when it eludes you? How do you rejoice in the ways God has delivered you, to date? And if you’re feeling, well, rather “undelivered” at the moment, how do you go about seeking Him in the midst of your brokenness?