I had to throw my head back and laugh. We have been in the bayou 10 months and the “promising” job that brought our family here was downsized. For weeks, hubby has been applying, submitting resumes, and networking. Multitudes of promising conversations and no offers. Two offers finally did come through, one risky and out of his field, the other within his job description and back home in Virginia. We were preparing to move to another home closer to his office. Rent paid, boxes packed. The offer that somehow made the most sense was in Virginia. I knew God would provide. He carried us here and blessed us beyond our imaginations. We knew job offers would come, but we just wanted to make the right choice. Why would God want us to return home if he had just brought us here? Eventually, we wanted to come back. Our family and loved ones were there. We had just not envisioned our return would come so soon.
The great sage Truvy from Steel Magnolias (filmed in Natchitoches, LA – pronounced na-codish, you’re welcome) said it best, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” In Genesis 18, Sarah laughed when God told her she would bear a son when she had spent her entire life grieving over her barrenness. Pregnant at age 90. God is hilarious. Sarah laughed. I laughed when we decided to pack up and move back to Virginia. I laughed when moving back would put us within 30-90 minutes of our family. I laughed because I fail miserably at being able to figure God out. He is hilarious. Always keeping me guessing, I can see God chuckling to himself. “Child, why do you waste so much energy trying to understand me?” Nothing about this life is predictable, nor should it be.
Ecclesiastes 3 says, “There is a time for everything…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” I wept prior to our move here. I can’t sugarcoat that reality, but my sadness didn’t hold me back from finding laughter. My mourning didn’t hold me back from dancing. I laughed here in the bayou. Celebrating life with bizarre parades and loading into the car with a crazy amount of loot. Hot dogs and fireworks on Christmas Eve and swimming on Christmas Day. Driving around Houston, late at night with a bunch of mamas in my minivan, laughing through my exhaustion, praying I didn’t wreck or get horribly lost. Then nearly falling asleep over my pizza as the 90-year-old man at the table next to us had more energy than our whole table put together.
The most ironic part of it all, my current sadness is that I didn’t get enough time here. When I squeeze the necks of girlfriends, tears flow because God is so very good. In my sadness, in my mourning, God sent me the most beautiful, hilarious women. Women who understood my struggle, but never failed to surrender me to a fit of giggles. Being in their presence was sure to lift my mood. I would have never imagined the handfuls of friendships God would bring to me in less than a year. How is that even possible? I knew no one, yet will leave here feeling more loved and blessed than I ever have in my life, friends in church, friends in my neighborhood, friends at my children’s schools.
God wants us to laugh and dance! We must move beyond our mourning and tears to see the blessings in our life that move us to pure joy. Had I stayed in my depressed funk, these women and their smiles would have gone unnoticed. My life has been forever changed by the joy they have brought into my life.
My tears will subside soon. There are beautiful blessings to come, beyond the bayou. I love my family and am elated to be so close to the friends I had left behind in Virginia. I eagerly anticipate squeezing the necks of my loved ones I haven’t seen in a year. I am already awaiting the laughter and dancing God will bring through the birth of a dear friend’s baby girl near my own birthday. I eagerly anticipate stepping foot into my church and seeing the faces of those I have held so close to my heart while I have been away.
Don’t get stuck in your mourning and grief. There will be dancing and laughter, don’t miss it. God is hilarious, He really is, even beyond the bayou.