~ Laughter gives balance to a heavy heart ~
Some of you may remember the movie “The Love Bug” which made its debut in 1968. This comedy and other movies that followed was created for the character, Herbie, a Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own.
I’m sure my boys enjoyed watching Herbie’s antics on the television screen on more than one occasion. Perhaps that’s where pet “Herbie” got his name. Herbie was my younger son’s hamster. Each boy had one, but “Bear,” who belonged to my firstborn son, was not the playful type, being a very serious hamster. Herbie, on the other hand, took the boys’ handling in stride . . . or at least pretended to.
I looked out for the pets, making sure the boys kept them locked in their cages when they weren’t playing with them. I didn’t fancy hunting for a missing rodent ~ especially since I had an identity issue with the hamster’s “glorified mouse” likeness . . . and I hate mice! Brrrr. It makes me shiver to just think about them.
We were replacing our old linoleum at the time this story took place. The new flooring was laid down, and the boys, always eager to make houses out of stacked boxes, readily found a use for the large tube left behind. I thought nothing of it when I saw that they had repurposed the tubing as a tunnel, rolling their toy trucks down the ramp with their little toy people riding inside.
Apparently, the boys got bored playing with toy people, which led to more creative considerations. I can just imagine one boy saying, “Let’s bring Herbie out to play tunnel with us,” and the other responding, “Yeah, that’s a great idea!”
Poor Herbie. I’m sure this new game went way beyond his tolerance of children at play, especially when he found himself the star of the show. The next time I passed by the tunnel, I did a double take. Herbie was taking the “joy” ride of his life. He was perched in a toy truck, and the boys were sending him down the tunnel at “breakneck” speed. When the truck hit the floor the sudden stop sent Herbie tumbling over the top. The boys hee-hawed. Thankfully Herbie was not hurt. Needless to say, mom stepped in and put a stop to Herbie’s truck rides. To sum up this escapade, Herbie’s idea of play and friendship was undoubtedly different from my boys being boys.
No doubt your children had pets, too. Can you recall some of those memories? It helped me considerably when I could finally recall pleasant memories of my children at play. The burden placed on our hearts when we bury a child is heavy and hard to bear. I think that laughter helps to give life balance.
I could say that this little story sort of reminds me of . . . well, me. You might say I was a reluctant passenger, too. After my firstborn son died, we were taken to places to make decisions no parent should ever have to make. We had to sign documents no parent should ever have to sign. We had to give permission for others to lower our son into the earth whether we liked it or not, for that was the decision we made.
You might say we became “owners” of a parcel of land in the cemetery after we decided it was to be our son’s resting place. We had lived near this cemetery for years. We drove by it often and nary gave it a thought, but no more. Now that my son is buried there I strain my eyes toward the spot he occupies as I drive by . . . if I don’t pull in. My eyes fill with tears. This cemetery has become a precious place.
You may be in the throes of deep grief right now as you read these words. You may feel totally abandoned by those who you are tethered to by blood. Perhaps a close friend you had always relied upon slowly faded from view after your loss. I know what that feels like, for it happened to me. Who knew that cyber friendships could be born out of loss and fill in some of the empty places?
Don’t lose heart. We are in good company right here on social media, because we share with people who “get it” as we trudge the trails of our grief journeys together. We are in it for the long haul, are we not? As a blogger, I have crossed paths with many of you on grief sites. I am privileged to call you my friends even though we may never meet. Mysteriously and wondrously you fill the vacancies created by those who have faded away.
There are examples of friendship in God’s Word. Jesus and His Father were friends. Jesus came to earth to share that wonderful friendship with His disciples who shared it far and wide:
The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends. You are my friends if you obey my commandments. I don’t call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. But I’ve called you friends because I’ve made known to you everything that I’ve heard from my Father. John 15:13-15
Verses from GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)