Lesson 4 with Bob Bender: Laughter is Key to Healing


I was just a little over a week post-op and had plans to go to a women’s retreat in Branson, MO and then a scheduled “mommy’s break” with my mommy friends a few days after arriving back from Branson.  In my right mind, I knew I should have postponed both trips sending my friends on without me. At the pleading of my husband, I reluctantly went.

I spoke of in my last lesson how it was hard to be humble before my family.  It is equally as hard before my friends. They came to take me to physical therapy, carry my bags,  pushed me through airports in a wheel-chair and yes, even carried all my accessories including Mr. Icy and Bob Bender.  They saw me in weakness, my body bruised, pride humbled, and offered their love and support.  Accepting help was hard for me and becoming dependent on my friends was a process God used to teach me dependence on Him, with a lot of laughter I might add.

So I want to give a shout out to Mary Ann, Ginger, June, and Ramona.  If their names sound like they come from a TV Sitcom, they do!  Their names have been changed to match that of who they were to me during our travels together. Mary Ann is speedy and quick on her toes. Ginger, was my lean-to always hanging back to watch over me.  June was my nurturer and then there was Ramona who added spunk and fun.

Mary Ann is my go-to and git-her-done gal in addition to driver extraordinaire.  She has all the colors of routes down pat in Branson and knows exactly how long it takes to get from point A to point B.  Dominating the routes, she would pull up to the Conference Center just long enough for me to literally roll out of the car, Ginger in tow, following me close behind.  When we left the Conference Center, she would pull up, the door open and Ginger would literally push me in and off we would go.  I compared it to playing the part of hardened criminals escaping after pulling off a major heist in the get-a-way car! All we needed were masks covering our faces and the squealing of tires to make it official………I take that back, just the masks as we did have squealing tires a few times if I remember correctly.

One night in particular, the four of us went to dinner before heading to the concert at the convention hall. As we ate dinner, I was fading in and out and just caught a portion of the conversation, Mary Ann, and Ginger were having. They spoke of a business on a street in our home town called Wabash.  I lost it, I couldn’t stop laughing, which caused us all to laugh. We laughed so hard we cried.  The ride back home the next day was none the less eventful.  I sat sprawled out in the back of the car, looking up as Mary Ann passed semi after semi all with WABASH on them.  To this day, if we have a hard day or to cheer each other up, we will send random texts simply with Wabash.

Off to the beaches of Florida with Ginger, June and Ramona on Wednesday I went. Ramona, my wheel-chair assistant, stood beside me as I got patted down by the TSA going and coming back home. June made sure I had everything I needed and all was well. Ginger, just as in Branson, was my constant, always hanging behind, watching my every hobble.

We too had a lot of laughter! We got to see God in the beauty of the sunsets, the waves and sounds of the ocean, and in the wildlife He put on display. We giggled and laughed as we listened Gollum’s version to Taylor Swift’s song “I Knew You were Trouble” called “Precious”.  We laughed so hard we cried as we mimicked saying precious.

Our return home was the ONLY time that Ginger left my side. Our flight arrived late and we had to hurry or we would miss our connection.  Ginger took off running and all we could see was her head bobbing up and down as she ran through the crowds to catch our plane. Ramona ran behind me pushing the wheel-chair and June a little bit further behind lugging all of our personal effects.  When we reached the gate, there was no one there but the agent and there was no sign of Ginger!  The agent assured us that Ginger was indeed on the plane. As I entered the plane, there she was, wide-eyed with relief as she saw us finally board and find our seats. Her mission accomplished!

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven……..A time to cry and a time to laugh, A time to grieve and a time to dance. ” (Ecc. 3:1-4)  “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.” (Ecc 3:11-12).

In my grief and struggle, God provided laughter and happiness in the midst. Beauty unforeseen with my own eyes, brought full circle in God’s work from the beginning in its own time. God used Mary Ann, Ginger, June and Ramona to be different people for me during this time. His reveals himself differently to me whatever season I’m in. I just need to ask Him what it is He wants to be for me. Not only has He revealed Himself as laughter, but also as Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner), Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd), Jehova Rapha (The Lord That Heals), Jehovah Shammah (The Lord is There), Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide), Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace).

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