This past weekend, my niece got married. I'm from a large family who has weathered some terrible heartaches over the years, some of which are still unfolding. Yet, in the days leading up to and the day of the wedding, our hearts were filled with nothing but joy. And when the music started, we danced the evening away, seemingly without a care in the world.
Did we forget the terrible life events we've weathered? Are we calloused to our struggles? Of course not. One never forgets ongoing hardships. But truth be told, although our hearts always carry the sadness of those hardships, my family embraces those moments of joy for all they're worth. I didn’t suddenly forget all my heartache. But the heart is capable of holding joy at the same time it holds sorrow. True story.
It's also an unspoken rule in our family that we refuse to be victims. Of anything. When people see me, do I want them to see the bereaved mother, wife of a stroke patient, sister of a cancer patient, so I can revel in the pity bestowed upon me? No. I want them to see me as an example of light, love and laughter. Because it gives them hope that no matter their own hardship, they too might laugh again one day. And they will.
Our family is just like any other family. Okay, so it’s filled with more than a little craziness, but otherwise we're just the family next door, with ups and downs like anyone else. But when we take a moment to look around, we're surrounded by blessings. And those blessings are what we choose to see.
So this past weekend, I danced with my family and enjoyed every second. Some of my family was missing. And my dear sweet hubby's stroke prevents him from enjoying the dance floor, which makes me sad. My heart hurts knowing that we'll never dance again unless it’s in the privacy of our bedroom. Being in his arms is the best feeling in the world for me. But one laugh can scatter a hundred griefs. And when you boogie with my family, you can bet there will be more than a little laughter, because most of us dance like an octopus with 24 arms. Another true story.
As news broke yesterday of yet another bombing, my heart was heavy knowing the untold number of people who now begin a journey our family knows well. It is an unspeakable journey, unlike any other. But try as we might, we can't fix it for them. And that hurts, too, knowing that there are no words that can make their fresh loss any less devastating. But I can pray for them, and wrap them in an invisible blanket of love and comfort.
And I can dance. So that one day, maybe they'll see that their hearts too will hold joy at the same time it holds sorrow. It will take a very long time for them to reach that point, but until then, I will be the best example of hope I can possibly be, by emanating light, love and laughter.
And a little bit of dancing. With my family. Because that makes me laugh. And one laugh can scatter a hundred griefs. True story.