Hope

Hope

Our Story

Our mouths were filled with laughter,

download nov 7 2010 082
Grandpa, Auntie, and daughter.

    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
~Psalm 126:2

My family likes to laugh. All the time. We have even been caught laughing at what others might deem ‘inappropriate’ moments. I’m not going to get into the details of the nitty gritty of our lives. But I will ask that you trust that we have gone though situations that have ranged from slightly inconvenient, to terrifying, to heartbreaking, and more. And still, we have found ways to laugh. Sometimes even in the middle of these situations.

I’m sure you’ve been in situations where laughter seemed like something you would never experience again in this life time. I have a memory of being in an intensive care room with my grandfather, knowing he would probably die soon. It was a very sad and somber time for my family. But in the middle of it, my grandpa requested that bagpipes be played at his funeral. There was a surprised silence while we all dealt with our own emotions at hearing him say the word ‘funeral.’ Then one of my uncles said, “But Dad, you always said bagpipes sounded like two cats fighting in a tree?” Another startled silence and then we all started laughing so hard we were crying- even my grandpa! The tears were probably partly from all our stored up emotions, but what I remember is a nurse peeking in at us. I think she was wondering if we had all lost our minds. Because who could laugh at such a moment?

“We can laugh because we still have hope.”

Recently, I heard a woman share this sentiment. I almost fell over. It was exactly the line I’d been looking for! Because people really do wonder about the sanity of our family. How we can laugh in those awful situations. And it is because we are not hopeless. We serve a God who is full of love and compassion for us; a God who has promised to wipe away our tears; a restoring God; an all-things-new God; a God who is never ending. He knows our heartache and He is with us. He is with us! We have hope!

I am not belittling anyone’s pain. I am not saying that if you are experiencing something awful, you should just laugh it off. I am saying that you don’t need to give up. You can cling to hope, you can cling to the God who created you. You can rest in His promises. And I hope and pray that you will find something to laugh about. Something that will remind you that you have hope. And the hope we had for my grandpa, knowing that he was dying, was the knowledge that one day we would meet again- in a place where there would be no more tears! (at least no sad tears)

And just one final note. At grandpa’s funeral, when we arrived at the cemetery, there was a lone bagpiper playing Amazing Grace. It was so beautiful and moving, but we couldn’t help it… we all started snickering, because we were all remembering that Grandpa always said bagpipes sounded like two cats fighting in a tree. And if he was watching from heaven, I’m sure he was snickering too (that man was an excellent snickerer).*

Thank you God for laughter! Thank you that you have given us hope after hope, and that we can trust in You. Bless us to be filled with your joy! To love and laugh all our lives though. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

There is a time for everything,

At my sister's wedding.
One more of cute baby girl, because- cuteness!!

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
     a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

*so if you happened to be at a cemetery and saw a family snickering over a grave as a bagpiper played amazing grace… seriously, what would you think? We really do look like lunatics!

The Gift of Laughter

The Gift of Laughter

From the Authors Our Story

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
    and a chain to adorn your neck.
~Proverbs 1:8-9

Mom and my daughter.
Mom and my daughter.

When I was growing up, my mom had a notepad with the quote, “Blessed is he who can laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be amused.” Not a direct quote from the sermon on the mount, but definitely something our family lives by.

From an early age, my parents taught me to never take myself too seriously. There are times to be serious, times for grief, times for tears- but we must never forget, that at all times, life is a gift. So, they taught me to laugh as often as possible, even when laughter didn’t seem the likely outcome of a situation.

Proof of this arrived again last night when my mother texted me,

“Dad and I just came in from a walk. Something was poking his foot in his shoe. By the time he mentioned it we were a mile and a half from home. He removed his shoe to reveal a bloody foot. He found a sharp object had broken through his sole. I ran home to get the car. Wheezing and coughing up the hill.”

Now I know some of you read the message of the text and think my mom was worried, or even annoyed. But I read it and could already hear the laughter in my mother’s voice. Of course the double smiley face she texted next was confirmation of this.

These texts were followed by a wheezy phone call in which Mom reassured me that Dad was indeed fine.

Dad and my oldest son.
Dad and my oldest son.

While we were talking, Dad, who couldn’t come to the phone because he was soaking his foot, hollered to tell me about his ruined hanky and that the ability to feel pain evidently diminishes with age.

Mom thought she better tell me the whole story to explain about the hanky. Upon removing the sharp object, Dad used his hanky to blot his heel and then put his hanky in his shoe to cover the hole. He walked on for a while but then stopped to take a look. The bleeding had slowed but had not stopped. Hence the ruined hanky. At this point, Dad handed mom the car keys and she started jogging for home.  Mom had to run up a hill to get to their house (it is one of those hills that I would never choose to run up). It was while she was jogging up that hill that she was passed by a man walking his dog. And this is where her giggles erupted in her retelling. “But in my defense,” she added, “it was a big dog, and I’m pretty sure he was helping to pull his master up the hill. I didn’t have any help like that!”

After my phone call, my husband asked what all the laughing was about. And when I said, “Dad cut his foot.” My husband gave me a very confused look. I’m sure he was thinking (and rightly so) how is that funny?

Enter the gift of laughter. Choosing not to be angry, or frustrated. Choosing not to think that the world is out to get you or that you should give up. Instead, the ability to not take yourself too seriously. *

We all have different gifts from our parents. Gifts we treasure, and even ones we’ve maybe never noticed. And maybe, if we are lucky, gifts we can pass on to our children.

May the Lord open your eyes to the gifts he has placed in your family. May you be blessed to give new gifts to your children, that your ceiling would be their floor to start on and reach higher from. And may you know that whatever challenges may come, you do not need to take yourself too seriously. In Jesus name, Amen.

~Lindsay

*It was at about this point that my youngest son came along and pounded on the keyboard. The end result being that the ‘d’ key no longer works. I think that peanut butter may somehow be involved. Any ideas how to get peanut butter out of your keyboard? ;)