Song & Laughter
My mom would always say, “When you were a baby, I remember it so well, you would stand up in your crib and although you didn’t talk yet, you’d sing. You’d hum and make the sounds of the different church songs. You were always singing.”
I look back at this picture of me and I remember how they’d always say, “That Darlene, always “risueña” (which is a Spanish word that can be translated to smiling, cheerful, laughing, gay in disposition, sunny, risible.)!”
And even when I rebelled against God and left church at 16, I remember getting through the hard days by blasting the stereo and letting it all out in song.
Over the years, so many trials and obstacles have come to rob me of my song. So many difficulties and situations have hurtled at me. They’ve attacked me in a rush; All of it an attempt to strip me of my joy.
Because the joy of the Lord is my strength. And if you strip me of my joy, you strip me of my strength. You strip me of my confidence in God.
Then yesterday, I was washing the dishes. Looking through the window over the sink, I could see my daughter and my husband playing in the snow. She was so delighted. There was much laughter as they chased and launched snowballs at each other.
And then I looked beyond them at the garage and at the fence. We’ve lived here 7 years and we’re always going to fix the back yard, but then life happens. There are layoffs, and hospitalizations, fires and all the other ‘in your face stuff’, and fixing the back yard is not so much a priority. It’s just not that important anymore.
It’s hideous really. If it were not for the beautiful blanket of white soft snow concealing the mess beneath, I’m not sure she’d be playing back there.
She was oblivious to the fence falling apart and the garage in disrepair. She was living in the moment. She was fully herself; fully enjoying life.
And so I shifted my focus off the things that fall apart, things that rust and over time are destroyed. Instead, I basked in the moment; God’s goodness. Laughter. 1000 gifts of grace.
That’s when I heard it in my soul, clear as day. “I’ve given you vision to see the goodness and the beauty in the middle of the mess. It’s a gift.”
Running water pours. Dish soap removes the hardened, leftover food from the day’s lunch.
Living water pours. The Holy Spirit removes the hardened, leftover discontentment from life’s hard places.
Since I was little, I’ve had a song in my mouth. I’ve had a cheerful disposition. It was a gift, deposited into my soul long before I ever came to be.
When the rubble gets so high you can’t make anything out of it, I see beauty.
When the tattered shreds of failed dreams threaten, I see grace.
When the discouraging and despairing situation seems like it will be the end of us, I see God’s goodness.
Lest you think me superwoman or super-holy, let me add that sometimes, many times, ‘seeing’ the beauty has happened through the tears. It’s happened in total pain, woundedness, and frustration.
Sometimes, many times, it’s happened after a yelling-fest, “God I don’t see you in this! Open my eyes that I might find You here!”
When life threatens to quiet my voice, from the depths of my soul a song bursts forth. I cannot stop it. I cannot push it back down. I cannot hide it.
Lips curl upward, smile widens, joy overflows, and song bursts forth.
Perhaps you’ve lost your song and your laughter. Perhaps the storms and disappointments of life have crushed your spirit. Can I encourage you today? When you don’t feel like singing… sing anyway!
Leave me a comment or inbox me, I would love to pray with you today.