Her giggle is infectious. No, for real. If you heard my daughter laughing, I’m confident you would burst into a snicker of your own. Even on a bad day, you’d surely feel the tingle of a smile gripping the insides of your jaws, forcing you into, at the very least, a grin. Her joy is pure. Not yet tainted by the circumstances of life. Not reasoned away by an exaggerated dependence on intellect and logic. Yes, that’s it. It’s illogical, this often random but ever-pervasive laughter of hers. Her joy makes no sense.
And I envy her.
Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, said something that continues to prick me long after reading it. She said:
“Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn’t rescue the suffering, but rather it’s the converse that does. How does it save the world to reject joy when it is Joy Himself who saves us? I have yet to see bitterness better the world.”
Geesh! Isn’t this the truth?
How many of us have chosen to be sad, to play down the joy we have in our hearts because we somehow think that by shining our light and expressing our joy (through something seemingly small as laughter or something allegedly large like showing compassion for the sick) we are becoming “too much” for this world. Yet, we don’t realize that the healing properties God has embedded in our light is exactly what the world needs. And it’s this light that our babies shine freely as they laugh at the moon, are tickled at the feel of grass between their toes, or sigh their sighs of peace and tranquility as they nuzzle our necks before bed.
Cue Mos Def as I dance right in the middle of writing this post. “My Umi says shine your light on the world. Shine your light so the world can see.”
So many of us, particularly as women, were told somewhere along the way that we were too much. We were told that ladies don’t laugh that loud. That we know too much for our own good. That we should censor what’s on our hearts and minds because we might, just might, offend people; the same people who are also censoring themselves. So in a room full of broken women who once believed they were everything, no truths are told, no creativity is nurtured, and no joy is experienced. Yikes!
Call it a stretch, but I believe that healing for the various ills of our world can be found in the giggle of baby girl. It can also be found in a grown woman who learns to laugh again. It’s the joy that does it. By answering the call of Joy Himself, we learn that we are, in fact, enough.
Lord, I pray that my beautiful little girl with all our loud giggling and beyond-her-years vocabulary will never have her light extinguished. That she will know that she is enough. God, You say that she is everything to You. She is certainly everything to me. May she grow up comfortable in her skin, in her mind, and in her heart. May she share her everything-ness with the world. It needs it so much.
Tracey Michae'l is a writer and educator based out of the Philadelphia area. She is a wife to William and a mother to a beautiful two-year old little girl. You can find her on the web at www.traceymlewis.com.