I wondered if Lazarus laughed after Christ raised him from the dead. It seems like a logical reaction to what happened, yet the Bible doesn't explicitly state, "Lazarus laughed." It doesn't even say that Jesus smiled or patted him on the back to express his joy.
There was a movie I watched a while back called The Money Pit about a couple buying a run down house at a bargain price and trying to restore it. The man, played by Tom Hanks, ran into one obstacle after another and finally fell into a hole in the second floor and got stuck. After assessing his situation, he loses it and laughs uncontrollably. It was one of the funniest scenes I've ever seen.
Recently, I was in Visalia when I received a text from my daughter telling me that my Mom, who had broken her hip last week, was being moved to a Rehab place and wasn't liking it a bit. I decided to speed down 198 back to Hanford.
Why is it when you are in a hurry that there are twenty cars in the left turn land at a stoplight? I was so upset that I drove past the exit and was half way to Lemoore before I discovered my mistake. I came to a stop sign, rolled to a stop, and saw fifteen damn cars coming from the opposite direction. Doug laughed. He laughed like a crazy man; he laughed like Tom Hanks in the movie. It was cathartic and kept me from losing my sanity.
A few months ago I wrote a piece called Playing Possum. It was triggered by an argument I had with my daughter who wanted me to be more proactive in caring for my aged mother. I wrote the article partially to explain the fact that mentally and emotionally I was pretty much a basket case myself.
Life has been pretty damn hard for me since by dad and ex-wife died fairly close together. I was trying to explain that I was still in grief because I had never given myself an opportunity to grieve. What I was really doing was making an excuse for my inability to return to the land of the living. Looking back, I found what I had written was pretty prescient by what it said about the idea of untreated grief.
Only problem was that, back then, I interpreted my actions through a prism of the belief that I deserved more time to grieve and people needed to get off my back and let me do it my way. I was deeply wounded and needed healing. It was still just an excuse. I now realize that here is no good excuse for anyone to stay in an opened grave when the opportunity exists to escape back to the land of the living.
I had written, "I have been telling my daughters these last few years that I have chosen the story of Lazarus rising from the dead as my personal theme, but I have added my own special twist to the story by looking back into the grave and noticing that my pant's leg is stuck on something, maybe one them fancy brass things they put on the coffin to bankrupt a family in their time of grief."
It was an accurate assessment of my mental/emotional outlook at the time. I was being held back, and the only thing that I could think that would hold me back was the fact that I kept pressing on without taking time to fully acknowledge how deeply I was hurting. Both daughters urged me to seek therapy, but I didn't see how talking to another person could help to stop the pain.
Further down I wrote, "My girls accuse me sometimes of reveling in the image of a graying man with his head and shoulders sticking out barely above the ground, flailing, calling for help in a somewhat subdued voice, and secretly happy that his pants are still stuck because it somehow absolves him of the nasty job of wiping off the miasma clinging to him like ivy and of doing all of the daily mundane tasks required to return to the lollypop land of a living. To live again, to regain the sacred lolly pop, he must learn to feel again, and feeling has let him down so grievously in the past."
This passage amazes me with the insight that it displays by saying that I was afraid to live because people were always dying in the land of the living. By withdrawing so deeply into my pain, I was already half dead, and that made things somewhat less frightening. I was not going to lose my life because I really didn't have a life to lose.
It was a selfish way to think. Life must in all situations be lived fully. It couldn't have hurt to seek help. I was lying to myself and putrefying because of the lie. My only wish now is that I have enough time to rectify the mistakes I made because of my decision to wallow in my grief.
My mother has recently broken her hip and is not doing so well. For my family, everything shifted when my mom's femur broke. Our lives have changed forever. And while, I can't return things to normal because normal was never all that good; I can try to make things the best that they can be for everyone. Lying down along the road is never a good thing to do.
Pulling on your big boy pants is really the only way to handle the vicissitudes of life, and even though life is always going to end eventually; it will end a lot sooner if you always pull the blankets over your head and avoid it. So, the plan is for me to luxuriate in the sun like a defiant shaft of wheat and try to create as many strong kernels as I can out of the daylight that is left.
Oddly enough, the lessons I learned about grieving are the very things that are pulling me back to life. I have to do what's right for my mother, and to do that I got to fully resurrect because you can't do right with one foot in the grave, and you'll never get by without a good old Tom Hanks laugh every now and then.