Laughing From Here to Heaven
Posted in Fear/Anxiety
Scripture: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2
My late mother, Valiska, and her sister-in-law, Frances, were best friends. For over 20 years, they lived next door to each other in Forest Acres and did everything together. In fact, our families were so close that most everyone thought that we were all brothers and sisters instead of cousins. Most of all, I remember how both Frances and my mother loved to laugh. They had so many comical capers you would have thought they were Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz.
One time, when I was a child, someone’s horse got loose in Forest Acres, and it became trapped between the breezeway between our garage and house. Of course, Mama ran over to get Frances, and they both were trying to determine what to do. I learned that day that you cannot back up a horse. Maybe John Wayne could, but ordinary people can’t. So they decided to try leading the horse forward, through the house. They were terribly concerned that once the huge horse was in the dining room, he would go berserk and there would be crystal and china flying everywhere. So Frances and Mama tried to calm the horse by stroking his head and speaking baby talk to him (which must have seemed reasonable to them), as they led him through the dining room and out the front door. All the children thought this was a wonderfully exciting episode of our daily escapades! They laughed about that story, and so many others, for as long as I can remember.
The last time Frances saw my mother was when Mama was ill in the hospital. Even there, they found humor in everything, and the laughter was so helpful for our family at that time. They were having a conversation about life and life after death. Mama told Frances she was ready to go to Heaven, and Frances asked, “Are you really ready?” Mama replied, “I surely am! You wanta go with me?” as if all my aunt needed was a plane ticket to get there. The laughter began to roll. Frances told me that story many times after Mama’s death, and I’ve recalled it again and again since then, even after my Aunt Frances’s passing a couple of years ago. They truly loved each other, and nothing stopped their laughter– not even the scare of death.
That got me thinking. Shouldn’t we all have that anticipation of Heaven rather than the fear that overhangs us when the threat of dying looms? Shouldn’t we all approach each day and each moment, no matter how daunting, with laughter and joy rather than fear? In recent years, I have had my own bouts with Cancer, when death felt close. But as fear threatened me each time, I recalled the lessons my mother and Aunt Frances taught by living them out: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2) After all, doesn’t Scripture promise that Heaven will be a joyous place? “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away…. The 12 gates were 12 pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.” (Revelation 21: 4, 21)
I loved my Aunt Frances and mother, and I know where they are right now. They are happy, and they are laughing with each other and with our Lord in Heaven.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the reminder that you have overcome fear, even the fear of death. Thank you for the gift of laughter, and help me remember to approach each day — even the difficult ones — with joy. Amen.
Submitted by Charley Coleman