Remember to Laugh

Written by: Ms. O

I…along with my two sisters…received a very sweet, touching email from our mom. It preceded our planned weekend together….a “letter of direction”….for us to read…and put into action. Her wishes?…for us to cherish the time we had together. For the first time…in 29 years….the three sisters would be together…in Nashville…for a whole weekend.

You see….in October of 1999…. my mom lost her sister…her only sister…the only sibling…to cancer. I know she was happy that her three daughters set aside time to spend together….which is no easy feat….but it also brought a wave of remembrance…sadness…for her. It was something she could not have…anymore. It was a “call to arms” for us.

There are five of us Shaw children…two boys…three girls. My sister Kay is the “eldest”…Carolyn is in the middle….and I am the baby girl. My brother is the baby of the family but I am the baby girl…something I hated growing up…but now…it’s sort of nice…being the youngest.

(L to R: Linda, Carolyn, Kay)
(L to R: Linda, Carolyn, Kay)

The three of us go to three different churches…live in different cities….have our own families. Two of us are divorced…one of us is a grandmother (nine times over) with the two other sisters sitting in jealousy. I wonder at times if we were not connected by blood…would we ever had the chance to meet….much less be as close as we are.

We share emails…text messages…Facebook posts…Instagrams…to keep up with each other’s lives. Modern social media makes it somewhat easy to stay connected…see pictures….and share “status updates”. Our lives are overly busy…too much so at times. Reading my mom’s email truly made me take stock in what we had to look forward to…as I panic-packed that morning.

Being together seemed almost surreal at times. We got to rehash our lives… add meat to the bones of what we share. I heard the sound of joy within our own families…the concern that can not be “seen” in our written words…hidden well by practiced smiles.

People that see us together commented that we share similarities. We all grew up with blonde hair and blue eyes. The eyes we have kept…the hair color with help.  We three love baseball…even though it is painful at times with the teams we choose. Our love of food is only surpassed by another commonality…one that I thank God for…our ability to laugh… a lot.

“Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”  Genesis 21:6

Sarah…Abraham’s wife…had found herself in a situation beyond her understanding. She had prayed for a child…many many years…and eventually gave into the idea that it may not happen for her.  As God’s promise became reality for her…she laughed…with joy. I am sure it filled their home…and spilled out into the village.  Everyone around shared in this pouring out of emotion…this evidence of God’s faithfulness.

As it should be in our own lives…and is with me…and my sisters. Anyone walking by the house could most likely hear our laughter. Pity the pour soul who crossed our path in public. Perhaps they might have felt like they were intruding…maybe they are right. After years of living…and coming to grips with change…we have realized that it is laughter that will carry us through.

I feel like at times we are overcome by the “heaviness” of life…and it suppresses the natural neutralizer. All three of us have seen our share of pain…I don’t dispute that fact. Life happens. What I try to focus on is God leaning into our lives and asking us to lighten our “load” by releasing some tension…find His Presence to be the tickle that smoothes out the path that may be rocky at times…and remind us that He created laughter….for us. There are times that I think my sisters and I take up more than our share of laughter…and many will laugh in disagreement. One thing I do know…in absolute certainty…God was laughing with the “giggle sisters” this weekend…so joy-filled that we remembered to laugh…and laugh some more.

Amen and thank You God.

Ms. O