Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"If love is the treasure..."

"If love is the treasure, laughter is the key." -- Yakov Smirnoff

"There is little success where there is little laughter." -- Andrew Carnegie

I sit typing this on Monday night, the end of a long weekend.  It was a good weekend -- a really good one.  Because there was rain one day and a storm on the island has its own breath-taking beauty, but it was followed by plentiful sunshine that makes you feel like you're living in a postcard.  Because we stood on a beach and saw humpback whales breaching and spy-hopping just off shore, like they were doing a stunning ballet. 

But it was also a great weekend -- the kind I don't want to end tomorrow -- for what might appear to be the most ordinary, yet extraordinary, reason: because of the people I spent it with.  Skyler threw us all a Valentine's Day party Saturday night that involved karaoke, musical chairs, and chocolate. We went to the beach, watched movies, and played hard -- including a game of Hide-and-Seek that I think it's safe to say I won hands-down because when I was finally found, Skyler let out a blood-curdling scream. 

On other Valentine's Days, Matt has bought me roses or something similar.  But this year, I asked him not to.  I wanted just a meal together and a chance to talk.  We went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch, and I ordered a vegetarian "super burrito."  I clearly had no idea what I was getting into.  It was like one of those eating challenges. The waiter brought my burrito out, and I'm not exaggerating in the least when I tell you it was nine inches long, four inches wide, and at least a couple inches thick.  I sawed away at it and ate as much as I could, and finally managed to eat about half.  Which is impressive, right?

The waiter thought so, too.  When he brought me a box for the burrito, he said in a voice filled with awe, "Wow!  You ate a lot more of that than I thought you would!"

Matt and I were laughing as we walked to the car.  I mean, what are you supposed to say to that?! Well, I am eating for two.  Glad to impress you!  

It was a day filled with... well, unparalleled romance.  Matt said (about my pregnant appearance), "It's kinda cool.  You look like a boa constrictor that just ate."  (So very true! Right?)

So I think what made the weekend great was the laughter that filled it.  I almost feel bad saying so because I know it wasn't a wonderful weekend for everyone.  The world is not a funny place; it's serious and downright scary.  It keeps me up at night sometimes.  

And we are sometimes very serious people.  I worry and take offense too easily; he works extremely hard.  But laughter?  It's a secret weapon, a God-gift of power that keeps us going.  Most days, if we have had a chance for real conversation, it's almost certain that we've laughed.  Ages ago when we were still just dating, my mom said to me, "I really like the way you and Matt play and laugh together.  It's an important thing, you know?  It will carry you far."  I took note of her words, though at the time, I didn't realize how true they were.

But looking back on the years of our relationship, when I think about us, I think a lot about laughter. In fact, I start to laugh.  

There was the time when I was just sixteen and we went on our first big date to see The Phantom of the Opera in San Francisco.  I wore my mom's clothes for such a fancy occasion, and the soles of my shoes were so slippery, I literally could not keep my feet under me.  Walking up and down the sidewalks was impossible, embarrassing, and totally hilarious.  

Then there was the time when I was in labor with Lilly, and I had been sitting for two hours in the waiting room with contractions two minutes apart while waiting for a triage room to open.  He looked up at me from his watch as he timed the contraction, shook his head and said, "Sucks to be you today."  And I was still laughing so hard when we were taken back (finally!!) that the doctor didn't believe I was in labor. (And Lilly was born two hours later.)

Or last year when we were living in a terrible house in Kailua with rotted out window frames that the property manager refused to replace ("It's a marine environment!" was his excuse. "They'll just rot again!") so that armies of cockroaches invaded every night.  We all got the stomach flu last spring, and as we camped by the toilet in the bathroom, the cockroaches scurried around us.  Matt somehow managed to make us laugh about our "company" till we were cried.

A thousand perfectly-timed and phrased one-liners.  Sometimes a mere look at just the right (or wrong) moment.  When we've been in arguments that seemed too big to find a way through, something happened and suddenly we've found ourselves in stitches.  He's made me laugh and helped me see humor in places I wouldn't expect to find it, making me (I think) a funnier person too.  These are gifts for which a thousand red roses or chocolates or even diamonds would be poor substitutions.

I hope that we are teaching our kids to laugh lots too, and to find spouses someday that they can laugh and play with.  Because while roses and romance are a nice place to start, as Karl Barth once said, "Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of the God."  

And maybe that is why it will, as my mom told me, carry you far.


  1. Laughing is such good medicine!! Thank you so much for sharing this super important reminder :)

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, Daisy! :-)


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