WHEN LAUGHTER ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH MEDICINE
A zing of alarm went up my spine. Pam’s comment on my post about real and proverbial mountains set off the zinging, but her words weren’t the problem. HER words were considered and thoughtful. She wrote:
“Yes, I know what you mean about getting overwhelmed when you see the size of the mountain, but not stopping… I need to remember to laugh a good belly laugh while going up my mountain.”
“But not stopping…” But not stopping??!!??
Did I really write that? What was I thinking? Laughing on my way up a mountain? Was I that reckless? Did I treat the huge mountains of life and art as a lighthearted caper?
I had to see if I wrote something I’d have to take back.
Now that I’m fully awake and sipping on coffee I can answer the question I posed myself. The short answer is, No, I’m not deleting that post.
The long answer is what I’m writing here. Consider this post a coda, an expanded verbal cadence that brings the original post to an end.
So About That View… told how I’d become disheartened after realizing the mountain I’d chosen to climb was way bigger than I’d thought. But because I still wanted to reach the top of the mountain, I’d kept going. And then as I continued the climb, hope along with my joy of the journey, diminished by the second. Plus, I was running out of water.
Thank God my story didn’t stop there, because I DID stop.
But in the post I drew a singular conclusion: recharging comes from a perspective change. In this story, I paused and took my eyes off of the despairing view of how far I had to go. Instead I put them on the view of how far I’d actually come.
The result was shock and joy. I almost couldn’t believe how far I’d come! The view of my progress encouraged me so much; I knew I’d be taking that mountain all the way to the top. However I decided to postpone the final ascent. Instead, I’d return when I had built enough strength.
STRENGTH FOR MASSIVE MOUNTAINS
But, “stopping,” isn’t the point of this coda either.
Joy is like water for me. Inside the core of my very being is a big deep reservoir designed to hold joy. But if it’s empty, then it’s just a big, dry hole. Without joy I become weak and withered. I have no strength. I can get through a day, but I can’t create anything new or lovely or beautiful. I can’t see the beauty around me and each step I take seems ten times heavier than normal.
On that day, my reservoir was not on empty. It was just low. I filled it up a bit with a good joyful view and gained enough strength to make good decisions. On that day, a couple of good belly laughs were enough. But what if I was bone dry?
I know the answer, and I’ve found the answer is the same, whether I brought this dehydrated condition on myself, or whether circumstances beyond my control stole all my water. When I’m bone dry, I need help! I need someone else to bring me water.
Now I’m blessed with good friends and good family who love me. They’ve been known to bring me laughter and encouragement when I can’t give it to myself. They’ve done it over and over again and I can’t do life without them.
However, in a season of loss where deaths and disappointments pile up on each other, creating the very mountain looming over me, there’s one special person I need more than any other.
He’s always there for me, on every mountain I climb. He’s the one encouraging me to look at how far I’ve come. And when I’m too weary to climb, He’s the one who picks me up and carries me to clear, still waters.
He puts my feet into its cleansing coolness, which gives me enough strength to lift my head. Then the Good Shepherd puts an overflowing cup to my lips and helps me hold onto it as I drink. And I do drink. I drink until I’m filled.
FROM OUT OF HIS HEART
So what is this water of His? It’s His joy, his living water flowing from out of His heart and into mine, because I belong to Him. I belong to Jesus.
The water is Jesus’ delight… in me! Now pause a moment and take that in. His pleasure is in… me. And I am not alone. His pleasure is in… you! Now pause for a moment again and take that in. Don’t qualify this statement and make it less than it is. If you’re reading this, then it’s for you.
His pleasure is in you.
Now when I am filled once again with his joy, delight and pleasure in me, my step is light. Goodness and mercy join me at my side, giving the climb more beauty and giving me more pleasure and courage. I may need to stop several times to refill, but eventually I will make it to the top of the mountain to enjoy the beautiful view. And all along the way I am never alone. The One who fills me never leaves my side.
“The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1 NKJ)
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32 NKJ)
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38 NKJ)
May His Joy be in you and overflowing.
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Carla Porter writes, sings, designs architectural interiors and loves God, all in Los Angeles, California.
© 2016, Carla Porter and Whisper of Grace, all rights reserved.
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