The tears streamed down my cheeks and I couldn’t see and my stomach hurt so badly and I wasn’t making any noise at all. Then a sudden gasp for air would erupt and I’d finally make a terribly horrendous noise and let out a “hoooooooooooooooo” to calm down my racing heart and aching abs. And it was well past midnight and we were in the middle of a field, sitting four across on a bench as we watched the meteor showers above. We were interrupted every few minutes by an “ooooh, look!” and we felt like dogs chasing squirrels as we stopped laughing long enough to watch a meteor zip by. And suddenly she would say something else and the cycle would continue once again and next thing I know it’s been three or four straight hours of side-splitting laughter on repeat.
“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” (Job 8:20)
As we drug ourselves to bed we tried so very, very hard not to wake up our friend who had went to sleep early, which made it harder not to laugh. And the more we tried to remain calm the more the laughter begged to be released. It was pleading and demanding and dying to be set free. As I lay in bed trying desperately to stuff my giggles back down, my phone buzzed. My friend on the opposite side of the room had sent me a text that simply said, “Hi.” The dam burst and the squeals rushed forth relieved to be free from the confines of my throat.
I haven’t laughed that loud or that long in a very, very long time.
I love those times when you’re not supposed to be laughing but it bursts out of you like an effervescent geyser, uncontrollable and necessary, soaking everyone around you…even those who didn’t want to get wet. Those times when you hold your cheeks because laughing for even one more second makes it feel like your face will break. Those times when you have to hold your stomach and dry your eyes because oh-my-gosh-take-me-to-heaven-now I’m the happiest I’ve been in ages.
There simply aren’t enough of those times.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” (Proverbs 31:25)
In seasons of distress and chaos and frustration and depression and loneliness there simply aren’t enough of those times. They are too few but should be many. Our futures are secure and God’s plans for us are for good and He came to give us life abundant and full and plentiful and overflowing. Wouldn’t the ultimate display of our trust in God be to laugh in the midst of the trials? To be so fully at peace with God’s hand on our lives that we have the freedom to sit back and laugh and enjoy? Wouldn’t that be the ultimate diss to satan — to laugh at the days to come instead of being wrought with worry and strife and angst? Not minimizing the pain and not ignoring realities and not being irresponsible…but to acknowledge it and pray about it and decide to laugh anyway and live in fullness of joy. That’s what I’m taking about. Richness in spirit and in love and in laughter.
“We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, ‘What amazing things the Lord has done for them.’” (Psalm 126:2, NLT)
Isn’t that the best testimony of all?
I’m so thankful for laughter this week. For breath-losing, side-splitting, tears-streaming, ab-hurting laughter. For friends who lose their breath and split their sides and stream their tears and hurt their abs laughing with me.
What are you thankful for?