Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Laugh, or Cry.

It's a lesson my mother taught me a long time ago. If you don't learn to see humor in the midst of pain, trials and disappointments you will be miserable. Laughter is a wonderful gift, and in times of stress is much needed.

I have laughed more during this visit with my parents than I have for a long time. I am choosing to see the humor in this situation. I'm not really laughing at my dad's expense, but I must laugh or cry. So I find his directives (mostly) humerous. He tries to explain to me how to fix his networking issues. He has never built a network. He has written Greek grammar textbooks, taught hermenutics, homiletics, textual criticism, can read Hebrew, wrote programming for the radar systems that kept our nation safe and free for a long time. He averted a nuclear war by correctly interpreting data that appeared to be, but was not, a nuclear attack. He is a BMEWS expert, a PAVE PAWS guy, understands math in ways I will never grasp, but he has not ever built a network. I have. I know enough to understand that there is something in the setup that is not apparent to me, something either set up by someone else that I don't see, or something about the particular laptop he has that is not conforming to standard networking. So when he tells me to rename everything and that should fix it, I run the network setups, and system configurations for the 17th time. I don't run and scream. (I was caught with my head on the desk, but that's not the same thing.) Instead I laugh.

When his talking begins when the key turns in the ignition and stops only when the key is removed from the ignition, I laugh. It is not unkind laughter. It is actually laughter that says, "I love you, Dad, in all your eccentricities, and I refuse to let myself get upset by these new and puzzling things that you do." I am choosing to be amused and not irritated by him.

When he discusses medical issues that he would never have mentioned in previous years, I laugh. Catheters aren't funny...well, yeah, they kind of are. Pain isn't funny, but the funny walk I have when my arthritis acts up makes me laugh. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror out of the corner of my eye, hair pulled back into a barrette and hanging more than half way down my back, and thought, I recognize this look! My mother wore her hair in a long ponytail. I though I was being so original. Ah, well. I laugh at myself a lot.

When financial stresses come, as another one did today, and threaten to make me panic, cry, hyperventilate and lose faith, I chose to pray (eventually) and to remember that I trust in the God of Abraham and of Isaac, of Jacob, of Joseph, rescued from a pit and in time made second in command over Egypt, saving his family in the process. I trust in the God of Esther, who rescued her and her people from annihilation. I trust in the God who did not let the widow's oil run out, in the God of Job, who said "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." I trust the God who put Noah and his family into the ark and brought them out onto dry ground. I trust the God who led the children of Isreal for 40 years in the desert and then led their children into the promised land. I trust in the God of my father, my mother, my brother. I trust in the God who made dry land in the midst of the sea, then caused the sea to close up over Pharoah's army. I trust in the God who made man from the dust of the ground, from his own spit and breathed life into him with his own breath. I will trust in the God who loves me more than anyone else, and who has my very best interests at heart. I will trust that he will bring good out of this.

In the midst of a distressing trip, and on a day of distressing news, I am very glad to have met a lady named Jeannie. Jeannie made me feel welcome in her home and in her very special tea shop. Jeannie is one of the neatest people I have met in a long time. And today, of all days, when I needed a bit of encouragement, her warm smile, her gracious welcome and her lovely cup of tea were just what I needed. Thank you Jeannie.

This is somewhat disjointed tonight. I apologize, but that's me today. Disjointed. I'm 42 years old and my joints are aching with arthritis from a short walk through the mall. Not a reason not to walk, just the effect. Still, move it or lose it. I am happy to be moving at all.

Just a few more days 'til I go home. I'll be glad to get home, though I would love to live near the ocean and someplace green at some point. (Amalfi Coast?) ;-) Steve was great making this happen, and I'm really grateful, but aside from a bit of nagging and a lift of their spirits, I'm not sure I've accomplished much. What I really wish is that I could get Dad to really look at Mom and see what this is doing to her. Sometimes I think he feels like his purpose is gone, but right now, his purpose should be to be really good to my mom. "Be ye KIND one to another..." At least that's how I see it. It's a lesson for me, too. A big part of my purpose is to be good to those around me, to my family, to my husband. This is tough, cause I really am rather self-absorbed. Ugly, but true.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Lifting their spirits is accomplishing much. I'm sure they would say your visit has been very worthwhile.

I laugh at my dad too, in the same way. I'm sure he understands it's affectionate laughter.

And I say too, Thank you Jeannie, thanks for being there for my friend today.