IMG_190131 Days Walking Through Chronic Illness

day seven

“Laughter is wine for the soul~laughter soft, or loud, tinged through with seriousness~the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.” 

Sean O’Casey

My mother gave me many things.

Life. Her grit. A good raising in the midst of hard circumstances. A few good spankings, needed I am sure. Her petite frame. Selfless, unconditional love.

I could list a million little things, a million more big ones, my Mama gave me. Still gives me so, so much.

My favorite gift of all. The gift of laughter.

Tucked away in the middle of all those things, there was an orange bathrobe. Her love of shopping, I did not get. My man is thankful for that!

Actually, I call it coral, maybe, maybe, a bright peach. My Soul Sister, however was bent on calling it orange.

It wasn’t so much my affinity for the robe as much as its usefulness in those first, hardest days.

I was so cold, no matter the layers I piled on, the fuzzy socks, or soft blankets. The setting on our  thermostat, somewhere between sauna and hot yoga.

The bathrobe, topped off every outfit I chose to wear. A cozy layer to wrap myself in.

Yes, that comfy bathrobe made it to the gift list, another thing I was thankful for in the hard.

Honestly though, I think it grated on my Soul Sister’s last nerve. I could never tell if she simply didn’t like it, or if she was desperate to pull me through this.

There were days I suspect, her denial that we would never run together again, more tangible than mine.

In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret, if you will promise not to tell her. I have it on now.

At any rate, the orange~coral~dark peach bathrobe, brought us much laughter. We still laugh about it.

This past birthday, she indulged me with an exquisite gift; a beautiful gray sweater. It was, she said, “to replace the orange bathrobe.”

I truly believe laughter is wine for the soul. I am, and always have been one who enjoyed boisterous, belly laughter. Deep belly laughter that brings tears rolling down my cheeks.

In fact, I once got called out by the preacher during church, as a teen, because I was causing quite the commotion with my tickled-ness. Yes, by name, much to my Sweet Mama’s shame.

With P.O.T.S., belly laughter can and will set off a tachycardia event. It is no laughing matter when your heart rate jumps upwards of one-hundered-seventysix.

I have learned to laugh softly, my hand pressed to my heart.

In the midst of 31 Days of Walking Through Chronic Illness, I am sure you are wondering why this? Why laughter? Why silly little things?

Author of Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery once said, “Life is worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it.” 

God had given me Peace that passes all understanding. My Mama, the gift of laughter, grit, and the heart of a fighter.

My husband, my family, my friends and community, had surrounded me.

I had to be intentional in my fight of this thing.

There was Peace in the hard. Joy in the hard. Laughter, however soft, in the hard.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

Proverbs 31:25 NLT

I had to be intentional in my clothing, orange bathrobe aside. I chose strength and dignity.

And on the days my strength looked more like a temper tantrum, my dignity, well, less dignified, with snotty tears; THERE WAS GRACE.

Gifts of Grace

Tammy Mashburn