hanging out under love’s umbrella

Mom turned 86 in December. She’s had a very tough year. My son moved into her guest room to help care for her. He’s had a rough year of his own. They shelter each other in different ways.

But both have a sense of humor. I love that about them. In the middle of a difficult time, they can laugh! A person like that is so nice to be around. A good laugh is about the best gift you can give or get, don’t you think?

As my marriage was crumbling, my husband and I had one last terrible fight. Right in the middle of it he said something funny. And I laughed. How infuriating! How dare he make a joke of this? I went right back to fighting, and that particular fight led directly to our divorce.

After years of bitterness, we finally began to soften towards each other, and to have conversations again. I brought up the fateful fight and how peculiar it was that we had taken a break part way through it for some humor. He told me about a day when the neighborhood bullies started beating him up on his way home from school. He was carrying a transistor radio, listening to a baseball game. Suddenly the local team hit a home run! The bullies stopped punching him and they all cheered together. Afterwards they finished beating him up.

I don’t think of “love your enemies” as a commandment. Who can really do that anyway? If you have an enemy, it’s because you don’t love them. But in certain moments we notice that we’re really on the same team. We see how easy it is to stop for a laugh. A divorce and all our fighting could not erase the big “L” in love. It was still there, we discovered, hadn’t become little, had never moved out. Now when we fight we’re laughing the whole time. And no, we’re not remarried. Who could live with that guy?

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