You Will Laugh Again

I will never forget the day I learned of my mother’s sudden death. It was in the afternoon as I was heading out the door to go pick up a friend from the airport and then run to my newspaper job for a night shift. There were no cell phones in those days. The airport was almost an hour away. I couldn’t cry. I had to drive.

I returned from funeral leave right before my 25th birthday. Celebrating was the furthest thing from my mind. But my co-workers brought in a card and a cake. Some friends showed up at my door to take me out. I wouldn’t enjoy any of it, but I would endure it.

Nothing brought me joy for the longest time. A beautiful summer day just meant another day when I wouldn’t hear my mother’s voice; a brilliant starlit sky was just something else my mother would never again appreciate.

In those early days, I was certain I would never again know happiness. Guilt would overwhelm me if I caught myself smiling. How could I be happy? All that was left for me was pain.

That was half a lifetime ago. Sometimes it still feels like yesterday, and sometimes it feels as if it all happened to someone else to whose heartache I was a vicarious witness. 

The next few years brought massive changes. Marriage. Recommitment to Christ. Babies. Career shift. New friendships. New priorities. New laugh lines around my eyes. New joy.

It happened slowly, that return to joy. Sometimes anniversaries would hit me unexpectedly hard, but still the joy returned.

I remember the day that would have marked my mother’s 75th birthday. It was impossible to miss, what with two of her surviving siblings having birthdays in the same week. All week long, I announced the advent of my mother’s birthday to my family, as if to prepare myself. So I was ready. Laying sod that day followed by a wedding that night were excellent distractions.

As I left the wedding, I listened to a voicemail from another of my mother’s sisters, my precious Aunt Ellen. “I was thinking about you today,” she said. And for just a moment, I choked inside. But it was okay. It really was okay. I told her so.

The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. He had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters.  – Job 42:12-13

God has been my Rebuilder, my Restorer and my Rewarder. By HIs grace, He has loosened the shackles of grief and filled me with His joy and His peace. And so I may laugh again.

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” – Psalm 126:2

Dear hurting friends, may the joy of the Lord be your strength. You will again smile – not a self-conscious smile, but a sincere smile – and you will again laugh without pain. The Lord will indeed do great things for you, as your laughter will someday testify.

2 thoughts on “You Will Laugh Again

  1. Darlene Raimondi says:

    I walked into this Mother’s Day weekend with full intent to find balance in remembrance of my son and to find the joy of my other children. Next I am going through photo’s and school projects that triggers the pain and destroyed the balance I tried to find.

    “In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. ~ I Peter 5:10. I believe that restoration and firm foundation will come. I just wish I had insight on when, but then that defeats the purpose of having faith, doesn’t it?

    In 2009 I was called to the grassroots movement, convicted to act for the sanctity of life, religious freedom, for marriage and the restoration of the family. There are few times I knew I heard The Lord so clearly and this was one! How could you ask me Lord, you know all the failures in my life. I never believed in my abilities to act or least of all lead, yet I took one step, then another and each step led to a greater blessing. I am certain this was an intentional distraction for what was ahead for me.

    God showed me a multitude of things including that He knew I was going to have to give him back to Him. I could never have put the pieces together then, but it was no coincidence. The first 6 months I became reclusive and would spend the weekends my room, curtains drawn, lights out, pajamas all day. Robby was my prodigal who had returned home, the child who needed me most and always looked and trusted me for guidance. In his later years, he always validated in written and verbal form his appreciation of me. Why him? Why this young?

    My daughter would now be the only child that could bring me grandchildren. Three grandchildren in 3 years was no coincidence. He put my grandchildren and new found service to my country and her values to keep me looking upward.

    So I am encouraged that Job was blessed more at the end of his life than the start. Something I had not realized. Jeremiah 29:11 has always been my life verse, so where is my happy ending, how did I get here? When will my Glorious Unfolding take place? Will it ever?

    I will close with a verse that I heard Pastor James McDonald brought him through a difficult trial that I hold on to. “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.”

  2. Cheri Henderson says:

    Darlene, I cannot imagine how heavy your heart is. I pray for you often. Please know your courage and perseverance inspire many. Press on, my sister. Your reward awaits you.