Friday, August 27, 2010

The Music of Laughter

"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."  (Job 8:21, NIV)
If you've followed this blog for any amount of time, you know what a great fan of laughter I am!  In fact, the talk I've given the most around this great land is on the healing power that laughter holds.

But one point I can never emphasize enough is that daily chortles are a requirement for living a life with a child who has special needs!  Over the years it has become not only an essential stress reliever for me, but lack of it has become a barometer which indicates I've neglected to adequately care for myself emotionally.

There are so many serious issues we face as parents.  The grave nature of many special needs can be extremely heavy for our children as well.  They are forced to grow up too soon through disappointments, fears, treatments and pain.  Death can be a very real concern for some of them.  Our stress and their stress can end up feeding off of each other in a vicious cycle.  We are "hard pressed on EVERY side"!  (2 Corinthians 4:8)

Yet, the Light of the World shines through as we guide our families in age appropriate ways through these trials.  One of the ways we can guide them and ourselves through the pain is to laugh in the face of it.  For example, I have discussed with MANY parents groups the disgusting travail of dealing with toileting issues in kids with special needs.  It can wear a parent down in big ways.  But if we turn that challenge into a joke (one mom sings the "Roto Rooter" song in her head as she deals with her daughter's issues), the burden suddenly becomes lighter.  I've often joked myself at the stinging comments or stares I get when my son with hemophilia is sporting unusual bumps or bruises.  "Yeah, go ahead and look!  If you think he looks bad, think of what you'll look like after I get done with you!"

Laughter doesn't have to be tied to the special need.  Croquet is a silly tradition originating from my husband's side of the family.  Every time we get together with his extended family the tournament must be held!  Our immediate family has even taken up the habit of playing it every time we camp.  There's no way we can get through this goofy sport without cracking up!

Laughter bonds us together as family no matter what we may face!  As I reflect on the days past, my best memories always include something ridiculous that brings me joy.  Even the inappropriate remarks of my youngest daughter with special needs are hilarious in retrospect.  As I look forward to the days ahead, that gift that God blesses us with is something that helps minimize any hard times we may have to endure.  Laughter is the music of life that rings throughout the past, harmonizes the present and ushers us into the future, creating perspective in darkness and joy that makes life worth living.

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