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Laughter Through Tears

Laughter Through Tears

Steel Magnolias is easily one of my favorite movies. Which is a little out of character for me to say, because it’s a really sad film. I usually don’t go for sad movies - I usually prefer to see things blowing up onscreen. Or at least films that make me laugh a lot. But that’s exactly why I love Steel Magnolias. Throughout the heartbreaking story of a mother losing her daughter to complications from diabetes, the film manages to make you laugh. A lot.
Truvy, the character played by Dolly Parton, sums up this feeling perfectly when she utters her now famous line, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”
That phrase and that emotion have kind of summed up my life over the last couple of years. I’ve had so many things to be happy about like being able to spend a lot precious time with my wife and daughters. My daughters both have a great sense of humor, so there is a lot of laughter.
But we’ve had our fair share of tears as well. Saying farewell to the band I’ve been a part of for my entire adult life. Receiving awful news that can change your life in an instant. The loss of GeGe, my wife’s mom and my kid’s grandmother and a fixture in all of our lives. And just recently having a beloved cousin pass away unexpectedly.
At the beginning of Hurt Road, I paraphrased The Road Less Traveled in saying that we keep expecting life to be easy and are disappointed time and time again to find it so difficult. Some take the opposite approach, just expecting life is going to be hard and trying to make the best of it. In my experience, that grin and bear it mentality only leads to jaded cynicism.
So life is hard. We all experience pain, even alongside joy. How do we cope? I’ll be honest. I haven’t found an answer to this dilemma. The closest I’ve found to an answer is to give up trying to cope and focus on cultivating a relationship with God.
When I’m saying this, I’m not at all saying that Jesus is going to just take away all of our pain and life is suddenly going to be easy just because we are in relationship with him. What I am saying is that he has walked this way before. When he says “Take up your cross and follow me,” he is gently reminding us that he has taken up a cross as well.
So whatever you are going through right now, you can know that Jesus has walked this path before. He lived a hard life during a hard time. He lived a life that ended in death on a cross. His invitation to follow him is an invitation to an abundant life. It’s not an easy life, you will experience a lot of laughter through tears. But it’s an abundant life.
Take up your cross and follow the way of Jesus and live that abundant life.
(BTW - if you are going through something right now and want prayer, say something about it in the comments below. I will pray for you, and I’m sure others who read it will as well!)

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