(This is a post from March)
I spent yesterday around my favourite people- my friends and their children. It was a day of crafting in the morning and a large scale play date at one of my friend's house in the afternoon. It was laid back and unassuming. My most favourite kind of days. To be honest I did not feel like going out that day. I had the pressures and stress of a family crisis on my hands. All I wanted to do was hide out and cry out in my frustration and sadness.
You see my husband is in the hospital and this situation has put many concerns on the hearts of my family and friends. There is a lot of pain in the situation. I wish I could go into details to explain the circumstances of his illness but out of respect for him and my children the line has to be drawn here. Since last Tuesday night when he was admitted my heart and head began to spin into a whirlwind of panic and fear. Questions about the future of my marriage, our children, our home, our quality of life spun out of control. During times of intense stress and pressure I become like a large river or lake. I appear calm and in control. But underneath the placid surface I have what I call panic parties.
One can see that going out to MOPS (a bi-weekly program for mothers and their children) and enjoying a day of beading with the girls that mean so much to me has to be a conscious decision. Despite my earlier mood I pulled my self together (with a bit of make up- yes foundation and mascara!) and headed out. While I was at MOPS my close friend told me that my husband had referred to himself as the luckiest man in the world in reference to me. He had written her a note, thanking her for her unfailing support of our family. In the note he had called her husband the second luckiest man in the world. Second only to him. As beads clicked and spilled on the floor and tables, tears spilled from both of our eyes. My friend had no idea how much I needed to hear that tiny story.
The night before, my husband called me from the hospital. The conversation was intense and difficult. I felt my husband was not focusing on the right things and he felt that I was being controlling. I went to bed that night with fear and anxiousness. I wanted my old family back and the future looked so dark and uncertain. I felt my self becoming resentful and distant. Throughout this whole ordeal I have relied on God to hold my family in his hands. I have asked that this would not tear our family apart but bring us to a new place. When my friend shared her story it felt like God was bringing my family to that new place one little footstep at a time.
As the morning ended five of us went to my friend's house with our kids. The children behaved very well (thanks to the overriding number of girls). My son had the greatest afternoon. Every time I looked over at him he was smiling and enjoying life. It brought so much joy to see him so happy. We sat around the kitchen table and enjoyed pizza and salad. Every now and then a child would race into the kitchen to share a bite. We shared mothering stories, church stories, and husband stories. All of which made us cry and laugh.
We also shared our perceptions about each other before we got to know each other. My friend Rebecca said that she thought I was the happiest mom. Her comment did not surprise me. I have been known to have a pretty big laugh and smile. This comment made me think. Am I a happy mom/person? Should I be happy given the trials our family has faced in the last year? I thought about my parenting and remembered how often I yell at my children. I thought about how many times I had missed opportunities to build them up, to hug them, to encourage them. Am I a happy mom? I thought about difficult situations my husband and I have faced in the last 2 years. The missed opportunities to hold each other, play together, escape together and enjoy each other. Am I a happy person? Even though I was faced with all this contrary evidence I wanted to say yes. Yes, I am happy.
Somewhere deep in my soul God has given me the ability to laugh out loud even in the midst of pain. Yesterday, when I asked my friend to touch my hernia on my very pregnant belly and she shot me an odd look because she thought I had asked her to touch my HEMORRHOIDS, I laughed for a very long time. As I laughed I caught myself in mid moment and thought is this right? How can I laugh when things are so scary right now. I was able to push that thought and let out more laughter. I am happy. I can laugh.
Even now in the midst of my pain I am reminded of the verse God has given me for the year,
God has blessed me with laughter
and all who get the news will laugh with me!
On that wonderful afternoon God reminded me once again that I can laugh during pain. He has also given me an ability to smile even when my world is falling apart. This is not a fake-everything-is-okay-smile, this is a thank God for this moment where I can smile. After all isn't it the moments that build our lives. Our lives are created minute by minute. Sometimes if we take it minute by minute, those happy, laugh out loud minutes can define who we are rather than the long stretches of time that hide the minutes of laughter and joy.
So if you see me laughing out loud at church, work, home, or in Walmart, don't think that I have it together and my life is perfect. Just take a minute and laugh out loud with me.