“Laughter lightens your load and lifts your heart into heavenly places”

Jesus Calling by Sara Young

I grew up in a home where our father was not present. He was held hostage by the drink and by drugs. He was physically there rarely and when he was, he simply wasn’t present.

He passed through our lives leaving a legacy for us all to overcome. He lived life alone, died alone and sadly his remains set alone collecting dust on a shelf in a garage. Not a legacy I want to leave for my own children and grandchildren.

They were hard times. Dark times. Sparse times. Frightening times for myself, my brother, my sister and my mother.

Yet we were blessed. We lived in a community surrounded by family. We laughed, we played. We rode bicycles from sunup to sundown. There was never a shortage of kool-aide, tire swings, and adventures that included mops for microphones and brooms for horses. It was the best kind of dirty feet and sweat, washed clean with the water hose.

And laughter.

Always laughter.

In Proverbs 31:25 NIV these words are found, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

We, my brother, my sister and myself were blessed to have a mother who stepped up to the plate. A woman clothed with strength and dignity. A woman girded with grit and determination. A woman who cleaned up the carnage and wreckage that alcoholism and addiction leaves in its wake. A woman who taught us no matter what to laugh.

Laughter was the best gift my mother could have given us. It has been that gift that has carried me through some of my own personal difficulties and storms.

And when we are left gaped open with her loss, when God calls her home to see His Face and to walk on streets paved with gold, somehow I know it will be with “her boots on”.  And once again she will leave us doubled over giggling and laughing through our emptiness and tears.

Though we carry the baggage of alcoholism and addiction, we carry the gift of laughter.

A legacy of laughter.

I love that my Heavenly Father appreciates my sense of humor, and oh how I love that He often allows me a glimpse of His.

Some months back when I was at the lowest physical point in my illness, something riled up my sense of humor and I laughed. When I felt like crying, I laughed. And my man, he laughed too.

I laughed a deep belly laugh that was worthy of listing on my “gift list” and it felt good. It was healing in the midst of an incurable disease.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 NIV

I praise God for this gift of laughter my Mother gave me. I praise Him for loving me with my sense of humor and the silliness I can find in the smallest of things even on my harder days. I praise Him for the grit and determination my mother passed on to me. And I praise Him for being a God who helps us to overcome the legacy of alcoholism and addiction. A God who can and does take the burdens off our backs and out of our hands and puts joy and peace in our hearts. And laughter.

Graced by God

Tammy Mashburn