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Way #8 to find Joy - Laugh at Yourself!
“…Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
About six weeks ago, I was sitting on my couch at home watching mindless TV when I felt a mysterious atomic energy flow through my veins. I cocked my head like a puppy wondering what it could be. John walked through the room and I asked, “Would you feel my head? I think I have a fever.”
He did and said, “Well, you are hot!” And he winked at me.
“Seriously! I think I may be having a stroke!”
“You are extremely red and hot to the touch.” Of course he couldn’t leave the room without throwing in, “You probably just need more cowbell!” (A reference to an old Saturday Night Live skit.)
After my nuclear reactor went off a couple more times, I discovered that I, the young thing who will never grow up, am going through “THE CHANGE!”
What? Not Me!
A memory of my mother popped up. We were sitting at a restaurant. (I think I was in college.) In the middle of the meal, for no reason, she started crying. Like not sweet little “Oh isn’t that darling” tears, but water-balloons-splatting-against-your-windshield crying. I remember her distinctly saying, “Don’t mind me, Robbie. I’m just going insane.”
Mom, how I’d love to call you now and apologize for looking at you like you weren’t my mother. I remember thinking, “Is she going to have to ‘go away?’ ” NOW I RELATE. And I have a tiny glimpse of how Noah might see me these days.
I’m already emotional. If you know me personally you know that I can cry quite easily and I get excited and angry quickly. Multiply that by 100. Yep, you can pray for John and Noah.
But here’s the deal. In this season of suddenly becoming strangers with my body, God is teaching me a new depth of joy, which only comes through laughing at myself. Even as I bawl, God is whispering perspective to me and I find myself grinning through tears.
My body has been good to me. It’s allowed me to write on my laptop and walk the dogs, kiss my husband and hold my son. It’s allowed me to breathe and live. So why not give it a little grace during this time that it has a mind of its own?
And God is always there. When I light up like a bonfire covered in gasoline, God reminds me that this too shall pass. When I fly into a murderous rage while dealing with my 13-year-old son, God provides the fruit of the Spirit of self control. And when I embarrass myself even more than normal, God nudges me like an older brother and I see the humor.
God didn’t go through menopause, I think. But can He help me? OF COURSE, BECAUSE HE IS GOD! He made me and He understands every single emotion that is playing Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em in my brain right now.
The other day Noah said something to me that was disrespectful and unkind. He later apologized. (After the flogging.) When he showed off his teenage self, I held my tongue for a moment, while contemplating how it would feel to really hit him and if I would actually go to jail. Enter the God who created me. A flash of the movie, “The Upside of Anger” went through my brain. It’s a scene during dinner when a daughter brings home her older boyfriend. The mom has a moment of fantasy seeing the boyfriend’s head explode.
The thought made me grin. Now don’t you judge me, don’t you dare! Unless of course, you are a member of the menopause club. After my highly inappropriate and funny thought, I was able to respond gently and firmly.
Yesterday I decided to be gentle with me and so I took myself to tea. Right beside the tea place was a massage establishment. Classy, not a parlor. :0) So I did something extremely spontaneous and I went in and asked for a massage. I told Nancy, my massage therapist, that I was going through menopause and...Well, that’s when I started to bawl. Nancy took my hands and told me about her own club membership and said, “You’ve come to the right place.” God led me into that building and used Nancy’s hands to minister to me. It was fabulous. Even when I started laughing so loud I knew I was upsetting the “Zen” of the place. And when I began the deluge of tears…again! God knew and He nudged me and I grinned, this time at the silliness, the ridiculousness of my situation. I thought, “Don’t mind me. I’m just going insane.”
And recently I went to Five Guys Burgers with my hubby for lunch. (This was not our big motorcycle trip.) During said lunch, I transformed into a certain reindeer’s nose. Safe to say if Santa showed up I could guide his sleigh anywhere. I sat there, glad it was summer, because I just looked like a foolish woman who had cooked herself in the sun without sunscreen. The bad part is when I started feeling embarrassed and the tears showed up, uninvited mind you, and I began crying into my delicious dog.
John, who has been anointed Saint John during this time of my life, looked at me with such compassion. And then something flashed through his eyes and a slight grin crept on his face.
“What? What is it?” I asked while blubbering.
“Nothing.” He put his compassion back in place. “I love you.”
“What were you thinking? You thought something funny. Tell me.”
He paused and said, “Robbie, I’m not going to tell you. You look so pitiful like you want me to put you back where I found you.”
“No really, John. Tell me. I need to laugh.”
One of my husband’s spiritual gifts is the laying on of one-liners. I knew this. He waited for another moment and then announced, “I was just thinking maybe I should have taken you to Red Lobster.”
BWAH HA HA!! I howled, even as I bawled.
God, the one who created this body that feels like someone else’s body, laughed with me.
And one more glorious time, joy, deep joy, bubbled up into my menopausal self.