Let's just face it. Sometimes it hurts too much to laugh. Sometimes laughter isn't even appropriate.
The death of a loved one. Pain visited on a child. Senseless violence.
And for me, more recently: Rejection. Cold, hard, rejection is one of those things that can cause so much pain that it's really hard to even breathe, much less laugh. For me, rejection, coupled with betrayal (secrecy, deception or outright lies) causes one of the most bitter forms of pain. At many points in the last few months, not only has it been too painful to laugh, it would have been inappropriate, since some revelations have signified a descent into such a place of darkness for a person I once loved and trusted that nothing joyful can immediately emerge. I can trust that in time, there can be a joyful end...but now? There's nothing joyful about it.
So in the midst of darkness, if you can't laugh, is there an alternative? Are we left with only sadness, anger, bitterness or fear? Is time the only healer?
After doing some searches in the Bible, although Laughter and Joy are powerful themes in the book, there are other themes that call out to me as well. The theme of Peace is one of them.
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27
Shortly after my marriage fell apart, I felt strongly led, and was even given a "word from the Lord" from a friend that I needed to
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
Of course that phrase is thrown about so much it's cliche. A no-brainer, right? But in the most turbulent of circumstances, it doesn't seem like a no-brainer at all. In fact, it seems counter-intuitive, since everything around me has led me to take action. And, in fact, I had to take action. But how can I take action and also "Be still?" How can these two ideas coexist? Gradually, I am beginning to see that they can.
I'm trying to understand it. But I don't know how well I've done. I've felt strongly led to go spend some time at a local monastery in prayer, but I haven't made it out there yet. My time without children is still so little, and it's an hour or so drive each way. My life doesn't lend itself to being still. There isn't much apparent peace around me, either. I've got four kids. Pretty loud kids. Pretty crazy kids.
I don't have all the answers, that's for sure. But I do know this. I need to know more about Peace. God's peace. Sometimes the Bible calls it "Peace that passes all understanding." To me, that means "Peace that doesn't make sense." Well, how about, "Crazy peace?" Is that an oxymoron? I don't know, but maybe that should be added to my list of things the "new me" is learning more about.
Crazy peace. Yeah, that's got a certain ring to it. I'm on it.