It’s to Laugh

I bet you think you’ll never laugh again. Well, guess what, you can.
I am fortunate because I have friends who find humor in life and in themselves. They cheer me and help me heal. Sometimes their humor is a bit irreverent, but that cheers me too, because I know they love me. One dear friend who lost her husband a year after Howard died, said to me, “What’s up with all these men dying? They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to!”
I try to enjoy every encounter where humor is likely to surface. I was with friends one day discussing black snakes. These snakes are harmless to us and they eat pesky rodents, but they have an unnerving habit of coming inside. My friend asked her husband what he would do it he found a black snake under the sofa. He said, “Place an ad, ‘House for sale fully furnished’”

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People have become more and more fascinating to me over the years. I find remarkable folks in all kinds of settings and often have great conversations. Here I’ll write about my favorite group of heroes, Nurses.

I was in the hospital briefly, about a year ago. I had been having problems with my fussy gut, but ignored them because that’s part of getting older, right? Besides I was planning a yard sale for that Saturday. Even my neighbors were involved. Anyway, the evening of May 17 I was busily organizing for this yard sale, when my gut hurt more and I noticed some blood. I had the good sense to stop everything and call the emergency crew.

They were wonderful. So were the people at the ER, especially the nurses. We had conversations, even shared jokes. (My new motto is, “I would walk a mile for a good conversation”.) They put my antibiotic in an IV drip and admitted me to the hospital. I was there for 2 days, during which I got to meet lots of people and have many conversations. One nurse shared with me her frustration about technology and how often it changes. She was hilarious. I told her she should write, maybe create a blog.

I said that sometimes when I begin to write, it is as though the message is given to me. That got her attention. She stepped closer to my side. Then she asked me to write down my information before I left!

So, what was going on with my gut? Some inflammation, connected with food sensitivities. A colonoscopy and blood test helped me sort it out. And I talked with a good friend who had faced similar problems with her children years before. She suggested I keep a food diary to observe patterns on a daily basis. I’d like to note here the difference between food allergies and food sensitivities: Food allergies provoke an immune system response. In the case of food sensitivities, however, the reaction is triggered by the digestive system. I had tended to use the words interchangeably, which is not correct.

What I found interesting in my hospital adventure was the process of meeting new people. After Steve died, I felt very lost, but after journalling for awhile I began to get clear on what I needed. Wallowing in grief was not a good direction. So, among other things, I decided to set some goals. (God’s idea). One of these was to meet more people.
Lo and behold, He’s making it happen!

Something New

I remember a novelist once writing, “The best thing for being sad is to learn something new.”

It’s been years since read that story by T.H. White about King Arthur and his mentor Merlin, but I am taking up that challenge now. I find that every new experience and endeavor enlivens my mind and will. Here in Virginia, we are finally approaching spring after a cold, wet winter. There is more light and an occasional day in the 70s, even close to 80. The wild things are responding. I especially notice the birds. I love to hear them in the morning, and I’ve determined to learn their calls. This requires focus and discipline, skills I need to practice.

A couple of weeks after my friend Steve died, I went to lunch with a friend from church whose gentle conversation helped me a lot. Afterward, I remember sitting in the parking lot for a few minutes watching the birds flit thru the trees in front of my car. I was still numb with grief, but the natural activity before me drew me out of it for a minute. I began to wonder if bird watching would be a good diversion for me.

Weeks later I followed through on this idea. My daughter-in-law was the one who suggested I get a bird feeder, so I did. The resulting activity in my backyard precipitated new conversations and picture sharing with Paul and Kari. This was very rewarding for me, since they live 3,000 miles away in Oregon, and every conversation is a gift. There have also been conversations with neighbors and friends who have bird feeders. Sometimes they help me identify the birds and their calls. It is a delightful adventure, all because I was willing to learn something new.

You could start a new project. I have a new project on the home front, now that I’ve decided to move. My house maintenance schedule has become compressed. There are all kinds of decisions to be made and contractors to deal with, alongside the daily routine. Believe it or not, this is a helpful distraction from grief, now that the most recent loss event is a year behind me. I feel more balanced and competent, even peaceful. The way I think God wants us to be.