Before the phone rang I was reaching for it. I knew with all certainty that the sound of the phone would pierce the darkness to inform our family that Grandpa had just passed away. With tears of loss already stinging my face I brought the phone to my mother knowing I was handing her heartbreak on the other side of the phone. I knew I’d be answering the call from my mother’s brother just shortly after the holidays. I had been expecting the news that Grandpa had folded his hand and left me to play solitaire all day.
I remember the day when the terrorist attacks hit closest to home for me. I had planned to go to the Oktoberfest in Munich but decided at the last minute that I just didn’t feel like going anywhere at all. I was all alone at home when the phone rang and frantic voices on the other side of the ocean were calling to see if we were okay. I could feel my body go numb as I realized I could have been there.
The summer I burned down my kitchen I learned that sometimes life displaces you and yet you still have to go about the business of living. I was living life at a million miles a minute and seconds after I realized my mistake I turned towards my kitchen to face a wall of fire. It happened that fast and in a flash our brand new very first house was on fire.
Everyone has their valley of darkness stories. There simply are times in life that we all spend in a dark valley and feel as though we are climbing up against a current. That is the ebb and flow of life and luck has nothing to do with it. There were times in life when we simply don’t know how to take the next step or if we are even moving forward. Even during crisis find a way to laugh hard.
My dad is gifted at spotting the one kid in a stage performance that is picking his nose which sends my dad into restrained hysterics. And his attempt at holding his laughter makes it all even funnier. Tear stream down my dad’s face in between snort filled laughter as holding back his laughter makes him laugh harder.
The ability to find laughter in the mists of valleys is a gift, embrace it, and search for the little things in life that make you smile. Life takes the wind out of your sails sometimes. I’ve been there a few times when the air feels dead around you and the emotional crisis has stolen the actual strength to get out of bed. Laughter has been the universal language of healing in my life and the wonder of it all is that laughter is contagious.
Resolutions to change, find joy and embrace God’s gifts are empty words until you breathe life into them with action. Breathe life into everything you do today.