Sunday, February 20, 2011

Noisy Hope

 “Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.”
~George Iles

The writer of Ecclesiastes was spot-on when he wrote there is “. . .a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance . . .” (Ecc. 3:4, NKJ). To ask a person in the midst of mourning to dance a happy jig or someone in the midst of a painful situation to let loose with laughter would be insensitive or even cruel. Life is full of varying seasons, and not all of them are joy-filled ones.

And I won’t dare say it is possible to find a reason to laugh no matter what life brings. But if you are going through something and laughter is possible, then by all means – laugh, even if it’s just for a few seconds or a minute.

My husband and I, for example, found things to laugh at while he went through chemotherapy. When we found his hair was falling out two weeks after he began chemotherapy, we cracked a joke about blowing on his head like it was a giant dandelion and making a wish. It helped us shave his head without shedding tears. There were moments of laughter in the days after my grandma’s stroke and at her funeral a few weeks later over what ‘u.d.’ stands for on a packing list and Grandma’s infamous hot cross buns. But Jeff and I didn’t chuckle or even crack a grin on the days when he felt totally crappy. Nor was there much (if any) laughter to be heard in the days before Grandma died. Again, with so many things in life there is a balance to be found, seasons to be endured, and times to cry and times to laugh.

But I will say, at least for my husband and I, we do try to find the funny if possible and appropriate. This quote from comedian Bob Newhart sums up why: “Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and the move on.”

In the examples given above, laughter did serve to relieve some pressure, clear our heads, and to remind us the hard times do not last forever (even though it can certainly look like they will). Laughter, I think, is like noisy hope. And who wouldn’t take hope over despair?

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