Dreams are for those who laugh

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I wasn’t sure why I went, really, to this retreat full of writers and strangers all focused on Dreaming Big. In Nebraska, for goodness sakes.  I was at the airport with a heavy heart, telling myself to turn around and go back, back toward piles of undone and unfolded and unclean.  But it was already paid for, and I needed a break, so I boarded the plane with my head shaking slightly back and forth and my hands gripping my purse. What am I to do with dreams at a time like this?  Dreams are for the stable, and the settled.  Those who have things paid for and life wrapped up in boxes.

Dreams are a luxury I just can’t afford.

So I landed and bumped along hills and miles, rounding a corner toward this gathering of souls, through red barns and geese overhead and a landscape peppered with silos. There were speakers and art and writing and coffee, but in the middle of a panel discussion on Saturday afternoon, I rose.  I couldn’t sit anymore.  I couldn’t think anymore.  I was the stoic one in the back who didn’t raise her hands to music. My throat was closing up and I needed to breathe.

So I bundled up and bolted, like I was skipping class and didn’t want the headmaster to catch up.  But as I walked, the pain I left back in the south flew straight into my heart like geese in formation, trudging so predictably back in. I ended up on the edge of a Nebraska lake, all buttoned up in a pea coat to ward off the chilly wind, like I could shore up my own heart.  There were ducks swirling aimlessly around, clucking and dunking and mocking me.  Surely, Lord, you have more in store for me than this.  Surely in time, dreams will arise.  

With the wind and the ducks and the pain chasing my heels, I didn’t feel happy.  I felt like hiding.  And it was then that I heard it, so loud it made me jump. A group of men across the water must have been camping, or having a revival, or playing a mean game of poker, because the only sound I could hear was loud raucous laughter coming from male voices.  Cackling, belly-bending howls that only come from deep inside, where a wellspring of joy bubbles up from within.

Seriously, God?  This? 

And I knew it was my only cure. The one way to break up the sharpness in my chest and shake it up like a snow globe, effervescent bubbles rising from my own soul.  I’d find the funny.  In time, I’d see this season of darkness juxtaposed with jewels of sparkling light, like rubies hidden in Easter eggs found one by one with the passage of years.

Dreams are not for the settled.  For the happy.  For the ones-who-have-it-all.  Dreams are for the broken.  For those who hold their arms out wide and say Lord, I can’t bear it any longer.  Help me find a way, with the talents you’ve entrusted to me, to serve.  To find joy.

To laugh. 

And hope will arise, following you all the way to Nebraska.   You stay up past bedtime, and wit will somehow travel from your brain to your pen and it is the new balm of Gilead that is saving your own soul.

I heard the voice of God, and He was laughing. Either that or it was some big hairy dude on the other side of the lake.  Either way, I’ll take it.

photo:

laughter

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19 Responses to Dreams are for those who laugh

  1. Sharon O says:

    oh so wonderful, I will go next year as I was invited to go and just couldn’t find the courage within me to arrive all the way from Oregon. Now I know there is an Oregon group and we will try to travel together next year. :o)
    I love your writing I can just see it, feel the cool air and even hear the belly laugh. good job.

  2. Kimberly says:

    “Dreams are for the broken” –I needed to read this. Even more than laughter, I need to know that dreams are still out there for me, for you. Keep dreaming and laughing, friend.

  3. Wait. I thought I was the stoic one in the back who didn’t raise hands to the music…

    Seems dreams are something that some days we can’t live with, and others we can’t live without.

  4. Oh be still my heart. You know how I love everything you write. And I think you know how you’ve captured my heart. You pen such aching beauty here. Thank you for this, Amanda. I wonder if all of us had any idea how hard it was for each to be there? I wonder if we had any idea at all what courage, bravery, endurance, pain, and love it took for everyone? What a beautiful picture to think on…..

  5. Kelly Greer says:

    Good medicine indeed! Thanks for the chuckle and your encouragement that “dreams are for the broken.”
    Hugs,
    Kelly

  6. Lisa Deeves says:

    Amanda, I wish you had a “Love” option at the end of your postings. I’d sail right over the mundane, tepid “Like” and click on “love” every time!

  7. For now I just take big gulps of your words and they go down smooth. One day in real life we will sip coffee wine and I’ll hear them straight from the horses mouth….or maybe well gulp those too. This is good stuff girl. Really good. You wear laughter well, maybe even rivaling Burberry. Or Burberry is a close second 🙂

  8. Seriously. You rock. And you rocked that pea coat.

  9. Wow, Amanda. Seriously. I have spent the last half hour reading as many of your words as I could. Just gulping them down. What a gift you have for story and humor and truth. And putting dreams to belly laughs and sacrifice and fresh air. I appreciate you. Thank you for these gifts.

  10. Chelle says:

    Oh Amen! How I needed to read these words. How I needed to receive the blessing and the balm they offered. Thank you, Amanda, thank you.
    Peace and good. Sweet dreams….

  11. I was thinking about laughter this morning, specifically about The Office. How they took a bunch of really terrible characters and made us laugh. How many TV shows have been based around that idea. Conclusion: I could write one kick-a TV show.(maybe)

  12. Marilyn Y says:

    Finding laughter is still there is a marvelous thing in many, many situations of life!

  13. Rebekah Grace says:

    Last Monday I learned that my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer and sometime around that day or the next I read this: “Laughter is a grace.” Yes. ‘Tis true.

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