When is the last time you laughed? Not a quick smile, but the kind of deep belly laugh that comes out of nowhere. That kind of laugh.
In a few weeks we welcome the Hebrew month of Adar in which we are told “one increases rejoicing.” The holiday of Purim reminds us that everything is topsy-turvy: the storyline you expect quickly unravels to reveal the exact opposite. And throughout the story, you might find yourself laughing. Not necessarily an expression of humor, but rather, laughter that conveys surprise, wonder, and the prompting of saying to oneself, “Wow, I didn’t think that was possible.” It’s the kind of laugh where unbridled joy takes over, letting in escape for a few blissful seconds. Or it is the kind of laugh that permits one to hope, knowing that joy can be experienced even within the deepest of pain.
When Avraham and Sarah hear they are to have a child, something they didn’t think possible, both laugh. Sarah laughs at herself, astonished that her body is capable of producing a miracle. Abraham also laughs, but as well, throws himself on the ground in deep submission. One laughed in wonderment in the realization of a dream she thought impossible; the other laughed with gratitude, his creating a bridge between God and moments of joy.
Perhaps, laughter is God smiling…humans getting the chance to witness and experience a holy grin.
As Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” In the most startling of ways, may our laughter surprise us. Contagious laughter that causes the smiles of many, reminding us that even through our pain, we can believe in the possibility of the unexpected. We are meant to hope in a way that makes us smile through our tears.
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