So be it.

I have noticed something over the last few weeks. First it came as a vague thought, something  I couldn’t quite articulate, but something that was felt. This evening as I was driving home from a talent show rehearsal, laughing at my oldest son’s silly song in the car, the words came…

Free, abandoned, out-of-the-gut laughter is something unfamiliar to me.

I don’t know how or where it started. I came from a loving, balanced home. My childhood was full of amazing experiences that I could only wish for my kids today.

But… I was always shy. Painfully so. I had a bouncy, outgoing, popular older sister. My younger sister was blessed with the beauty and the brains in our family combined, and sported a sharp wit. I got lost between the two of them and felt I couldn’t compete. So I withdrew into my own world. (Sometimes called Sumi-land. I still go there sometimes. 🙂 ) 

I went to a high school that was extremely snobbish. My best friend from school and I met together in February of this year and puzzled over why that was the case. We both agreed though – we couldn’t think of a single soul that was truly happy in that school.

Somehow, in those high school years I lost my laughter.  I remember a stage when I desperately, painfully tried to manufacture a ‘cute’ laugh. My older sister had this little bubbly laugh, but when I tried to emulate it other children told me how fake it sounded. (I suppose it did.) But the snarky, biting comments of my peers only made me shut up more. Until I didn’t know how to laugh, really laugh, anymore.

I have always admired people who can just laugh, without a care in the world. Who can belt it out from somewhere in their gut and whose laughs are so infectious it gets you laughing too. My oldest son has a nice laugh – and I can pick it out in a crowd at school. It always makes me smile.

The last few weeks, I have been hearing myself laugh. Free, unaffected, and uninhibited. It is a strange sound. It is a good sound.

I think it is a sure sign of something amazing that is taking place in my life. How can I be so broken, and yet so made-whole? How can there be so much pain in my life and yet such joy? It is a mystery.

A colleague of mine commented on the pink sweater that I wore to school this week. I told her: “Yeah, this is my Jenna shirt. We picked it out together.” “Who is Jenna?” she asked, and promptly dissolved into tears as I told her about my girly-girl.

She had no idea. She told me that I seem so happy and normal and she never suspected I carried that kind of grief with me.

I told her then, that God has ordained my steps in a way this year that I never could have imagined. He has truly cocooned me in his grace, like a preacher told me at church recently.  I have never felt so loved, so capable (it even feels strange to write that word) or so free just to be me.

Oh, I do grieve.  My heart catches in my throat many times a day as a situation or sound or smell or sight reminds me that Jenna is not here with us now. The pain welling up in my heart at odd times is a familiar thing now. I know it is transient, so I don’t fight it.

Yet I am in such a good place.  Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for everything under the sun…a time to pluck down, and a time to build. Right now I am amazed to see a building taking shape, made of His hands, one that I pray he will inhabit and be glorified through. Amen, Jesus…so be it.

11 responses to “So be it.

  1. I understand what you are saying. And I’m so glad that you are able to finally laugh.

    I also cannot remember when last I really laughed – unstoppable, until my insides ache. At school? At university? Was that truly the last time I felt without a care? Sad.

  2. How beautiful you write and articulate what you feel – I hope you realize that is truly a gift from God. I’m glad you are able to laugh and to cry. My husband makes me laugh as well as my sisters and brother. My sisters and brother and I are not able to get together because we are poor and live in separate states. My one sister lives here and we laugh so hysterically – something my husband hasn’t ever seen me do. You should see all four of together – it is a riot. I’ll have to blog about the time my sister and her husband came to visit us. Hope you have a good day and I’m looking forward to reading ‘Getting to Know You’.

    I still mourn for my Mom and she died when I was in the 4th grade and I am 57 years old. It comes and goes; but I would love to have had her around all these years.

  3. Wow! That brought tears to my eyes. I know that I can’t completely relate to what you are enduring, but your life and writing always touches me. I am always lifting you and your family up in prayer.

  4. Yes! I know that cocoon that you write about so well. God is so good, isn’t He?

  5. First let me say, I am praying for your entire family over this holiday season–may God hold you up and give you peace and comfort.

    I LOVE to laugh.
    My grandmother calls it “inner-joggings” exercise for the insides.

    Thank you for sharing here.

  6. Absolutely beautiful.

    Thank you.

  7. Oh Sumi,

    My heart rejoices with your for those little moments of joy! God is SO good.

  8. Sumi,
    I’m smiling and have tears in my eyes- I know that cocoon! God truly is good, and I believe He takes our broken hearts and makes us better than we were before. God bless you and your family this season 🙂

  9. This was beautifully written Sumi. Yes, the Lord does build something wonderful of the shattered pieces when we let Him. It is a beautiful thing to witness His works in our own lives and the lives of others. May He continue to bless and build upon you.


  10. The joy of the Lord truly is our strength, isn’t it? I remember asking Him one time what that means…that His joy is our strength. Over time He shows me more and more. And I feel like reading your post today is another glimpse of what that means. He is filling you with a joy, a peace, that can only come from Him. I am sure your laughter is precious to His ears, Sumi.

    Watching Him work in your life truly is beautiful to behold.
    Blessings, friend.

  11. Doesn’t it feel so *GOOD* to be in this place? I know when I was in the depths of my grief I didn’t think I could *EVER* get here and yet, I am, and it feels divine! I thank God daily, multiple times daily actually, for the peace and joy that fill my life in spite of the hole in my heart and the void in my life. For truly, He is good and life is good and worth *living* not just existing in.

    I’m so overjoyed you are here, Sumi. What a blessing, especially this time of year. I know this is going to be a difficult time for you and your family and I’m holding you all so close in my heart and prayers.

    Thank you so much for your sweet and kind words on my blog. I hope Jenna’s ornament sparkles beautifully for you all.

    Many many hugs,

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