Call – Opelika-Auburn News
can still hear the laughter after they’re gone
Somewhere my wife found a plaque with
these words on it: “If you love somebody enough, you can still hear the
laughter after they’re gone.”
The plaque sits on a dresser
in our bedroom. In front of it is a picture of my sister Laurida and another of
our son David. Each one was laughing heartily when the picture was made.
The author of that statement
was right. When I look at the picture of my sister I can still hear her
boisterous laughter though she died almost 20 years ago. Never timid, Laurida
laughed “all over” when she laughed. Watching her laugh was more enjoyable than
whatever we were laughing about.
She must have been a
wonderful mother because her seven children are all fine people. Like my mother
Laurida was a dedicated “homemaker.” Her great love was her family and her
children knew it – and were blessed by it. I am sure each one was shaped in
some way by the influence of a godly mother who left this world all too soon.
I don’t remember seeing my
sister cry but one time. That time she shed tears of joy while lying in bed,
soon to succumb to cancer. The occasion was the marriage of her daughter Margie
to Warren Clark Johnson. I joined them
in holy matrimony at the foot of her bed because she was too weak to have made
a trip to church.
I do remember Laurida
laughing every time we were together. She loved life and when she laughed she
put her whole body into it. So it’s true – I loved her enough that I can look
at her picture and still hear her laughing.
Memories of our son David are
a bit different. I do remember him crying many times, especially during the
long months of his terminal illness. Pain produces tears – especially for children.
And their pain is compounded for parents who are helpless to explain why an
innocent child must suffer.
One of my worst memories is
of David begging me to not let a nurse hurt him with needles while giving him a
blood transfusion. I could think of no way to explain why his daddy would allow
someone to hurt him. On so many days he
cried himself to sleep in my arms or his mother’s arms.
But we made no pictures of
David crying. We did make several of him laughing vigorously. He did have
moments of sheer joy. Those are the pictures we cherish. One of the best of
those pictures sits in a small frame in front of the plaque. When my wife put
it there it was her way of affirming the words: “If you love somebody enough,
you can still hear the laughter after they’re gone.”
Life is a mixture of tears
and laughs, of joy and sorrow, of pain and pleasure. Were there no pain we
could not appreciate the pleasure. The challenge is to not let pain and sorrow
defeat us. Faith in a loving God who hurts when his children hurt is the key to
Sometimes when I stop and
listen to the laughter of Laurida and David, I think I hear the Father laughing
also. His victorious laughter mingled with theirs reminds me that the dark
night of sorrow must inevitably give way to the joy of the eternal morning.
Am I sure of that? Yes, I am.
It was confirmed in my heart by the One who said he came that we might have
joy. Laughter springs from that joy in our hearts. + + +