Day 20: Laughter
Today is the second day of Holy week, a week that descends toward the dark desolation of Jesus’ betrayal, abandonment and death. It seems strange to write about the sound of laughter while on such a somber trajectory. Be patient with me.
When I awoke this morning, I had the odd recollection that at some point in the night, David woke me up laughing. I confirmed my suspicion and asked if he recalled doing so. He said, “Yes,” though he couldn’t remember what he was dreaming or why he was laughing as he lay next to me chuckling, spastically at first, and then almost uncontrollably. It made me laugh and still does as I think about it.
Laughter is such a contagious and unusual sound. Most people have a laugh all their very own. For instance, Eli, my grandson, is laughing now--sometimes even cackling. I have another friend whose piercing laugh is so jolting that in public it makes head’s turn. My mother-in-law has an hysterical laugh and when she gets going, she usually ends up crying she laughs so hard. Who can argue that laughter is a gift from God?
This morning as I meditated on this sound, I had an unusual picture come to mind. I imagined laughter as a spirit set free from a deep catacomb within my soul, released to dance and play. The scene that played in my mind was on Resurrection Sunday. Matthew 27: 51-53 records, “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”
This morning, I heard laughter as a sign of resurrection, what I look forward to at the culmination of this week. It’s the signal that death did not triumph; the tomb has been emptied; the spirit of laughter has been set free within each of us because Jesus died and rose again in victory over all that makes his and our heart weep.