May 26 • 12:34 PM

Lubricating life and love with a little laughter

January 30, 2008
Love makes the world go 'round; laughter keeps you from getting dizzy.''

A young friend shared that line tonight. She and a group of college friends, along with a professor, had spent interim break traveling abroad. Actually, her sister had also. One group had gone to Romania, the other to Mozambique, and I have to admit that I'm not sure anymore which group had read that statement and made it the rallying cry for the trip.

The intent of both groups had been to immerse themselves in the culture, allowing it to rub off on them as they left footprints behind. As I listened to them share about their experiences, I was reminded of the refrigerator magnet one of my girls once gave me. It was a print of a work by Thomas Kincaid, who had lived one town over from her when she lived in California. The reproduction was tiny, she

had said, because that was the only size she could afford, but on it were words which melted this mom's heart: "You never really leave a place you love. You take part of it with you and leave part of you behind."

As I listened to these other two girls (Kristina and Kendra Ettema) in whose lives I have also been privileged to be involved, I suddenly realized that somewhere along the line they had become young women—each unique and beautiful in her own right. When I had seen them the day before, they had been a bit jet-lagged, but now they were vibrant in their re-living of all they had experienced. Post-Communism, gorgeous cathedrals, museums, monasteries and convents, hostel-living and friendships for life had all left their mark, and I could hear Kristina emerging as quite the political science and history buff. As Kendra talked about her group's experience of entering Africa via the Kenya airport in the middle of all the unrest, then showed us pictures of people forming unbelievably long lines to await vaccinations in health clinics she helped make happen, I knew she would never be the same. Seeing her in a gym with a bunch of kids swarmed around her, or watching as a mom hands her a squirming baby let me know that the January Interim experience had come back home with her.

As Kristina quipped, "You don't drink the's, uh, heavy on the metal"; and as Kendra showed pictures of one state-of-the-art bathroom, and provided descriptions of some less-than-state-of-the-art ones, I knew the girls had both learned lots about love making the world go 'round...and about laughter keeping you from getting dizzy.

And haven't we all? It's the way life is. Anyone who thinks life is just a bowl of berries...I mean...a bowl of cherries...hasn't, I think, experienced the full reality of love. There's so much more. Stuff that makes us hurt. Stuff that makes us cry. Stuff that makes us uncomfortable.

We should love much. Love hard. Love well. I don't mean we shouldn't. But somewhere along the way we do well to learn the art of not taking ourselves too seriously and learn the value of lubricating life and love with a little laughter.

Castle Creek
Milnes Ford
05 - 26 - 19
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