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Archive for July, 2009

My blogging hiatus has come and gone. I’ve visited family and spent a signifiant amount of time not doing much of anything. In fact, I haven’t even read very much. Instead, I’ve done a lot of hiking, sleeping, and sitting. I’ve gotten the rest that I’ve so desperately needed. In fact, this past weekend I had dinner with a few friends I hadn’t seen since the spring. After a few minutes they remarked about how I seemed so much calmer. And I feel like it.

A couple of years ago I got an unexpected call from my grandfather. My extended family and I had just celebrated his 90th birthday over the Christmas holiday and he was in the midst of planning his funeral. He asked me to give the eulogy and help one of my uncles with the service. In his words, “You’re good at speaking in front of people.” But he failed to take into account that I will probably be balling my eyes out. Again, over this past Christmas holiday, my extended family got together to celebrate his 92nd birthday and after it I started thinking about the reality that he will die. I’ve written parts of his eulogy in my head but the rapidity of doing so has increased with his quickly deteriorating health. This was especially true on Tuesday.

Tuesday he went in for back surgery and I was preparing myself for a phone call that said he didn’t make it. The cardiologist told my family that “If he were my father I would NOT allow him to have this surgery.” All morning I waited, with a couple of e-mail updates from my brother, and only when evening came would I allow myself to believe that he was going to be ok. And he’s ok.

When I think of my grandpa I have many wonderful memories. Smoking cigars together, a family vacation to Disneyland when I was young, sitting at his table listening to stories about farming, WWII, and the Great Depression. But my best memories are of hearing him laugh. He has the kind of laugh that comes from his gut. A laugh that doesn’t allow him to breath at the same time. His face gets red. The veins in his head take on a life of their own. His laughter is what I’ll always remember and I’m thankful for that.

Laughter is such a powerful thing. I remember one particular night in Charlotte, NC visiting Scott and Tami several years ago when we sat on the deck and laughed. I remember Christmas with my immediate family and looking over to the couch to see my mom and my sister laughing so hard that they couldn’t speak. I remember my brother hiding behind a door a few weeks ago to scare me (which he did) and the goofy smile on his face when i nearly hit the cathedral ceilings in his living room. Those are the images that stick with me when I remember my friends and family.

I can’t help but think that there’s an aspect of shalom that inextricably linked to laughter. There seems to be a kind of healing and harmony that occurs when people laugh together. My thoughts are probably premature but I can’t help but think that shalom is about living and laughter is an amazing part of our lives. What would our lives be without laughter? In my 32 years on earth I’ve never thought of that question. Laughter is an important part of the human experience, of the Christian experience. Does the Bible talk about laughter? I really don’t have any idea and would LOVE to hear about it! On another note, do you have any stories about laughter?

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