Laugh It Away

May 22, 2012

In my family, we love to laugh. You could often find one of us making a stupid face in a picture or pulling some ridiculous prank on someone else. We love humor and find it essential to our every day life. We find it so essential, that in my house, you even  laughed away your pain.

As I told you in my story, I grew up with an ill father. There was not one specific disease that caused his health issues but rather a domino affect of many little issues adding up to make him a fairly sick man. From the time I was little, he was permanently disabled and didn’t work. Before I was in school full time, my days would be spent going with him to various doctor appointments and coloring behind the nurses desk while he got looked at. And every time there was a new ailment or another surgery, we would go into it all smiles and joking our way through the end.

At first I felt ok with this idea. I mean, I wasn’t taking anything too seriously, and never attempting to let the thought that something really may be wrong enter my mind. I was being light-hearted, right? No one wanted a debbie-downer, and my family made sure we weren’t those people. By the time I had reached high school, I was so good at laughing it all away, people thought nothing ever bothered me. That is until one summer morning that I will never forget.

I was in my room doing who knows what, when I hear my brother yelling at me from across the house. He tells me my dad has fallen down from a seizure (not an abnormal occurrence) and that he was not breathing (not normal). I called 911 and was trying as calmly as I could to give my brother CPR instructions as we waited for the paramedics to arrive. I remember them reviving my dad and whisking him away to the hospital as my brother and I followed in the car.

By the time my mother had arrived from work, my dad was perking up and things had settled some. I was doing the usual bit of making jokes and keeping everyone happy. I was just fine until I saw my brother from the corner of my eye. He was standing off to the side outside of the hall with my mom, and he was sobbing. For the first time I saw someone in my family truly allow the weight of their pain to be seen and shown to others. Right then it was as if all the dams I had built up to hold back my pain came crashing down and I allowed myself to openly weep as well. In that moment I experienced just how beautiful and freeing it can be to show people that you are broken.

I am obviously getting better at expressing my pain (i.e. this blog), but it is not a natural process by any means. I still seek help from a counselor. I will still clam up, make a joke and shove my pain away. But then there are the moments of release. Moments when I let go of the hurt and let the love and grace of Jesus in. And so far, I have never regretted a single one of those moments.

I know so many of you have told me that you just can’t do it. You can’t let down your walls, feel the hurt inside you, and set it free. But I am here to tell you that you can. Jesus already sees it. He’s already felt your pain, bore your pain, and forgiven your pain. And He is there right beside you just waiting in anxious anticipation to let Him in. To let Him do what He does best and lavish unspeakable amounts of grace and healing upon you. Oh yes, feeling it will hurt, but then comes freedom. And who doesn’t want to be free? I know I do.

Points of Reflection: 1 Peter 5:6-7  Psalm 30:2-4  Jeremiah 17:14

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  • Jeannette May 22, 2012 at 9:51 am

    I am so thankful God has put this on your heart. It gives me opportunities to think.
    As a mom of 7 I have 5 girls that all handle EVERYTHING in very different ways! Joy to pain, the full spectrum! Growing up I trained my self to not show negative emotion. Hurt, anger, pain…..nothing but smiles or shrugs. I have found as a mother that leads children to believe that I am to hard, not understanding, or at best just “even tempered”. In a lot of circumstances being “even” is a good thing. I do not regret not yelling, losing my temper, or having fits (even mom’s can have fit’s! lol) But the mind set that I can be so “even tempered” that I can not relate is not good. A honest relationship with children helps them develop. It show’s the right way of handling all those emotions. Talking about hurt (in my opinion that God has already or is in the process of healing) is training for them. I do not like the word “process”. But that is what healing is most of the time. A process that is wonderful and painful at the same time. Christ has come to set us free. He sent the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter. There is a beautiful reason He chooses the “process” in most cases. It builds trust in us for Him. I must say, I am so glad when He chooses the miraculous instant healing! But where would we be with out His process!

    • agirlikemee May 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      Thank you for sharing this! As a mother, I too see the value in being relatable to my son. He is still very little, but I want to be in good practice so that when he does need me, I can be there. I think your desire to show your kids that in some ways you are in “process” is so commendable. I think more parents need to desire this in their homes. So thank you, thank you for this.

  • Georgie Jamison May 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

    My mother has sickly health also, and it’s hard to try to act as cherful as possible for them, and that’s what i strive to do. However, some take it the wrong way, and think i am heartless by not crying or not feeling depressed… Sometimes, I even doubt myself if i really care. But i know deep down that i do… You just have to have confidence in yourself, i guess…. But i do have feelings and I am emotional, even if i act as cheery as possible around the sick….

  • Kate May 22, 2012 at 11:43 am

    thank you. just, thank you

  • Rebekah May 22, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I needed this so much. Thank-you..

  • Tammy May 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I think in a way, we all do that. We laugh at situations that might not be funny at all. But it might be what makes us through it. God never hands us more than we can handle. So we have to find our way through it. Thank you so much for being honest. On my moms’ side of the family that was the way it was also. For example, at my grandmothers funeral lunch, there were tables of people hugging and laughing. Talking about all the family jokes and mishaps that went on through the years. If I were a stranger, I would not have thought that we had all just came from the cemetary. Even while she was still in the nursing home there was a lot of that. And the situation that brought her there was anything but humorous.(my grandfather committed suicide a year before that). There has to be that feeling that we will meet again. It was promised. So yes, crying is a part of healing and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But it is great to remember that this is not the end. I am sure I will see my grandmother again. I will see her smile and we can joke about the family again. And together we will praise the Lord.

  • hbkelley May 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    On the contrary to your statement that the “Naked Truth” was the point in which you felt the most vulnerable…I think this post has given great insight into the pattern we as women take as to feeling in control of everything that is going on in our life. You laid out everything in is raw truth and acknowledged that you are still a work in progress. I have to commend you for stating that you are still seeking counseling as a resource. As a student earning my M.A in counseling, there is no greater truth to the matter that even those who appear to be perfect still need a little support from those who understand, are empathetic, and whose genuineness are evident.
    For those reading, I will say that pushing through and breaking down the walls we have built up are not easy, there is much work to be placed in that process, but the moment one wall comes down, you gain that much more strength to push the ones that follow!

    Great blog, truly remarkable!

  • platypuslove39 May 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    I understand… almost everyone that knows me thinks I’m like the happiest person on the planet, because I’m not so great at expressing my real emotions… when i do its usually just to myself, through my writing or my music. I laugh, I make other people laugh, and I just try to make everyone happy, but in trying to make people happy, I can’t be real, because thats not what people like. No one really knows that i struggle so much, or that I even really struggle at all, because I feel like no one will understand. And I’ve had lots of expiriences where people just haven’t understood. But what I’m (slowly) learning is that its okay to have struggles, and I’m not alone in the difficulties I face. I am talking to people about it, and there are people who understand, and most importantly, there’s God. He loves me no matter what… I don’t have to put on a mask to be accepted by him because He’s already accepted me. There’s always something to smile about, but there’s also times when you just need to let it all out, so you can heal. I try to do that on my own, but I find just talking to someone heals so much… whether its praying to God, or talking to someone you love and trust. Admitting our brokenness, not just to ourselves but to others, is so freeing… we are all so broken, but we are never ever alone! And we have a God so amazing that He loves us in our brokenness… He died for us while we were still sinners!
    Thank you so much for your blog… I appreciate your honesty so much, it is so encouraging!

  • Haley May 22, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Growing up, all I knew were hospital trips. The flashing lights of the ambulance as it came to our house to get my father. All my life and to this very day, my dad is a man who is very ill. We did the same thing. My mom tried to keep up shielded from how bad it was, and it worked until we grew older. Then we started laughing and joking. But in the end it caught up with us and we were tired and worn out. So we finally let out our brokenness and I felt us healing as we talked out everything. It’s still a struggle, and maybe it will be for the rest of our life on this earth, but I know God is faithful and I can trust him with my brokenness.
    Thank you for this post, I very much identify with it, and I feel better knowing I’m not alone.

  • Beth May 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Heather, How is it that right now every blog you post is something I need to hear! Thank you for writing this and the past posts for offering prayers and encouragments and for commenting. Its all help, and its all working together for the good of those who love him….Smiles! Beth

  • Juliyah Wright May 22, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Where’s that scripture that says :
    ” Weep with those who weep ”
    Mourne with those who mourne
    Laugh with those who laugh???
    not sure I’m getting it right but its meant to tell us to Not laugh when someone is hurting. This is like pouring salt in an open wound.

    There is nothing worse than to be sick or diagnosed with some disease only to have close ones ” play it down.. ignor it.. or joke it away. It makes the
    Disabled or sick feel devalued and humiliated even more.

    Like no one even close family will accept truth but easier to laugh or joke or downplay…

    What is a t the root of this???

    Simply this ” it will disrupt their lives and slow them down to allow themselves to ” feel” or ” empathize. ”

    Some people are born with shallow personalities. They simply cannot empathize or have empathy not even for the ones closest to them.

    Others its learned behavior…patterning.

    That person is suffering deeper than

    the illness. They cannot participate in normal

  • Juliyah Wright May 22, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    The sick and disabled need our Love not pity

    Our help not handouts but genuine help

    They need our ears to listen
    And our hearts to feel and our reactions to react in hope and realness.

    They need encouragement
    Not despicement.

    They need our hope
    not resentment
    They need our faith
    Not our fear

    Many things do they teach us :-)
    How do I know??

    I am one of them :-)

    Life Is different for us.
    Help us live it.

    Especially the churches please!

  • Ali May 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Great post, wonderful blog. I’ve spent the last hour or so on here just reading and sorting through how they relate to my life.

    I completely relate to this. I am growing up in a house hold where showing emotions is a sign of weakness. Both of my parents were wounded growing up, and have passed that along to my brother and I. Like you, I’m working through things with a counselor, but I’ve learned how to separate my true emotions from the situation. The situation then becomes an easily stated fact, and I hide my feelings behind my protective wall. I’m slowly, and painfully realizing the truth in freedom.

    Thanks for your thoughts, I hope you continue writing. You have beautiful truth to share. :)

  • Jane May 25, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. It really touched me. I guess because my entire life my own father has been incredibly ill from a whole myriad of things. And as a kid, I just got used to late night trips to the ER and doing math homework in waiting rooms, and making jokes about it all. And you have to learn how to quit feeling things when its inconvenient or you just can’t make it. So, you quit thinking about how life threatening it all is and start making jokes. My situation isn’t the same, but I can sympathize, and I sure appreciate knowing that someone else knows what that feels like.

  • Julia Gregory October 8, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I don’t have a godly family. I hold my pain in then just cry it out when I can’t hold it anymore. I never laughed my way out of it but it seems pretty good. I don’t have a worldly father he has left this world already. I break down when I think about it. How can I laugh bout it? I am the only godly one in my family like my whole family I have a big family.