Saturday, May 23, 2015

Joy and Laughter

‘I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.’
                                                                                                Luke 15:7

Rachael reflected joy.  Upon any jocular moment she brought with her a magnanimous smile and a full hearty laugh.  My favorite thing to do with her was to make up characters that interacted with her and with each other.  I truly felt that one of the skills that I brought to the toolbox of care for Rachael was my sense of humor.  Keep it fun, light and entertaining, if she were laughing she was healthy and maybe the endorphins helped ease her pain and ours. 

John, a friend and caregiver of Rachael’s from 4 years ago that first met her at a rehab facility, was like her personal comedian.  I knew that when he was here she would have a fun day.   When John would be Rachael’s care giver of the day, we knew she would be exhausted by days end from laughing and interacting with him.  She loved him much and he became her best friend.  There were many times that she randomly would laugh out loud at something she was remembering from earlier in the day with John.

Prior to moving to Europe, Carol, Rachael’s aunt, and a gifted storyteller, would visit every Friday and spend time with Rachael sharing stories of what happened in her life that week.  She would spin hilarious yarns and seasoned reports that at the baseline gave Rachael a huge grin and would peak with Rachael’s classic guffaw.   

Yvonne, Rachael’s energetic aunt who is Facebook incarnate brought great laughter and joy to what would be Rachael’s last days.  She has all the information on all the family, interacts with people and their connections to several degrees removed and has a heart for them all.  Even when she was not being funny with purpose, Rachael found great joy in her Aunt Yvonne.

Then there is Daniel and Hanna, Rachael’s brother and sister.  They held the history of Fat Albert, Angus Beef, Hurlaps and many other colloquialisms and esoterica stored in the Wizeman-Hinkle vault of humor.  Hanna had taken up talking with Rachael in a very unique style invoking characters, situations and a cavalcade of sweet scented mirth that could take Rachael from moaning in pain to bursting with laughter.   Daniel, a mimic of speech patterns and with the offering of a younger brother's sibling raillery, always brought the laughter and smiles to Rachael with memories of family incidence, disruptions and the recalling of subtleties of characterizations. 

Nancy, not a purposed clown, would make Rachael laugh when she invoked her bold truths, wisdom and methods to others or myself.  Rachael would laugh at the two of us teaming up to clean or tend to her, facing each other on each side of the bed, discussing or at times arguing over some issue that would be revealed as inane then fodder for laughter once beguiled by Rachael’s amusement.  Rachael could turn awkward to awesome with just a smile.

So there has been a steady stream of fun and humor diluting the debris of pain and suffering in our home.  Horizontal humor to keep us going, the “Dust Of Snow” to reference Robert Frost’s poem:

‘The way a crow shook down on me
The dust of snow from a hemlock tree 
Has given my heart a change of mood
And saved some part of a day I had rued.’

God has blessed us with joy through Rachael.  As I type this now, I see her smile in my mind and miss her greatly.  What a picture to retain of her, that huge smile.  I love her so very much.  He brought so much fun into our home that we often remarked that our house was a live sitcom.  The joy is gone for now, sorrow and mourning are of the season but you still can feel the resonance of it.  The other day I told Nancy that I had a concern that if funny people here on earth are to bring joy to a fallen world and heaven is a place of no more tears and no more pain, then what will happen to the funny people in heaven?  They won’t be needed.  Maybe we will be sweeping the streets of gold. 

What I do know is what any and all of us can do to continue the joy.  What I wish anxiously (if twisted to be biblically apropos) to do is to share Christ with someone and be able to see him or her repent and be saved.  For that brings joy to heaven and with Rachael there, joy to her!  ‘There is more joy in heaven…’  We have a horizontal joy here on earth, we love comedy, we nearly worship great comedians but our jokes and jocularity are wood, hay and stubble to God.  What brings joy to heaven is a saved soul.  A merry heart is good medicine here, but we won’t need medicine in heaven.  The joy wrought from salvation lights up the host of saints alive with Christ.  As of yesterday at 5:27 PM earth time, Rachael was there. 

People are going to want to do something.  In such situations people don’t know what to do.  Prayer is needed for our family, our marriage and for the immediate business of dealing with a departed loved one.  What else you can do is to share Christ.  Be a seed that leads to a new soul for Christ.  Send some joy heaven bound by telling someone about Jesus.  For me from this point on, punctuating any report of salvation will be the laughter of Rachael. 

Rachael's Aunt Mary would run Rachael through a nightly routine when here and often over the phone.  Rachael is soft, she is safe and she is quiet and she is comfortable and she can now rest her peepers.


Anonymous said...

I love her smile and laugh. You're so right about her joy; on every visit, she ended up blessing me, and not the other way around. As absolutely heartbroken as it makes me to know that she is gone, I'm equally comforted that she is in the hands of the Lord. My love and prayers go out to all of you.

Unknown said...

Joy and laughter is Rachael. Although, heartbroken, I can see that smile and hear her laugh. Thanking the Lord that her smile and laugh live on in our hearts.

Anonymous said...

My darling cousin, Rachael. You brought such joy to me whenever I came to the States and always made me feel so welcome and part of the family. I love you and am so happy you are at peace now in heaven, free as a bird. Thinking of you and your lovely family xxxxx Lala xxx

Unknown said...

Such sweet sentiment...Rachael did always have a beautiful smile to offer...and she is in heaven rejoicing with those that come to know Him. xoxo

Unknown said...

Breathe on me, breath of God
So shall I never die
But live with You the perfect life
Of Your eternity

John J. Hepler said...

It's Rachael's laugh and smile that drew you to her. No matter how much pain or bad she felt, she always has a smile for you. I tried to uplift and bless her with every visit but it was her blessing mine. I always felt better after our visit's. As heartbroken as it makes me to know I won't see her again, I'm comforted that she is in good hands. Rachael you will forever be missed. GOD bless and rest in pease.