Laughter is good for the soul. It must be because as I lie in bed watching tv amongst a gaggle of girls, I am laughing and shrouded in contentment. To have my face frozen in a smile for a few days may be my best and newly discovered medicine for tackling life. Life, the real one for me, certainly has laughter, but it is more complicated. Life involves a small town, four children, one with special needs, a hard working husband and a house and a dog and a cat and all those wonderful things I call my own, which make my life so unbelievably wonderful. To be honest, they also make life tough and hard and exhausting and monotonous and I have a tendency to be a bit of curmudgeon when all those blessings have a tendency to overwhelm me. Laughter, I have discovered, is the answer for redemption.
To laugh is to smile and to smile is to light up and to light up is to open your heart and to open your heart is to build bridges with old friends. Laughter is the emotion that binds friends together. Isn't it true that you laugh hardest with those you not only love the most, but the ones that get you the most? It is for me. A weekend of old friends is just what the doctor ordered after a year of worrying about my Amos and the many hours of intentional self reflection, poured out in words on paper, thousands of them.
I've been reminded that laughter, not truth though, is the salve for a hurt heart and I wonder how I had forgotten. Has it been too long? I remember being a student at Salem and my big brother was terribly sick. I was worried and overcome with feelings of love and hopelessness and the girls that surrounded me didn't come to my rescue in the way you may expect. They didn't share my tears. They didn't hug me or comfort me with abounding kindness. No, they simply made me laugh. The pain and sadness was washed away with frequent laughter and the silly antics of girls away from home, seemingly linked together for no reason other than shared territory.
I have laughed so much this weekend that my jaw hurts and my face aches. I have wet my pants too many times to count and I have laughed until I had to bury my face in an old feather pillow and catch my breath. I have been awash in remembrances as I have listened to the laughter of these women, the women who long ago were those very girls that embraced me in the same cackles and chortles and snorts. The silly loud raucous laughter that soothed a young girl's broken heart reminded a woman's heart that life is meant to be joyful even when life gets tough. I've realized that not much has changed when it comes down to what's important in life. If anything, I've been reminded that children are natural nurturers. The laughter I had forgotten from long ago circled around again this weekend and it was awesome.