By Janet Villa
Manila – I’ve been thinking about laughter. The good kind—not the derisive, mocking laugh—but the one that compels you to join.
Remember that laugh one summer day away from school, the one that your friend starts over nothing? It catches you both by surprise. You clamp your lips together, not finding anything funny, but your laughter escapes through your nose in a loud snort. And he guffaws, laughing at the sound of laughter. He laughs, so you laugh, so he laughs. One infectious, contagious cycle. You double up because it gets ha-ha-harder to breathe. He slaps his thigh. Your face distorts as 15 muscles contract. The entire body joins the hilarity: tear ducts open, blood rushes to the face, and while the core muscles tense, the rest of the body weakens. You are in a fit.
Oh, when we were younger, did we not laugh often and hardest at the slightest? We had giggled and chortled long before we could speak.
As the years pass, does laughter become more infrequent? May it not be so!
We cannot laugh on command. Laughter just brims over. It just does.
I think about the Proverbs 31 woman who—strong and dignified—“laughs at the time to come.”
There it is. She laughs.
Some Bible versions say she smiles confidently at the future, cheerful, but I like the versions that show her laughing without fear of the future. I prefer the laugh. I prefer the whole-body exuberance it evokes, the less sedate but active belly-joy of knowing that the future lies in the hands of the loving, gracious, sovereign, mighty God.
“Laugh at the Time to Come”
Watercolor on Baohong
Editor’s Happy Note: Welcome back, Janet Villa, our OSM! blogger for Mothering Heights. She shines with love and faith in this pandemic which has also brought out the visual artist in her.)