“Then we were filled with laughter, and we sang happy songs. Then the other nations said, “The Lord has done great things for them“. The Lord has done great things for us, and we are very glad.” Psalm 126: 2 – 3 (NCV)
Sometimes, it feels good to laugh in the midst of a storm. Right now, it seems as if there is a lot going on that may make us want to cry more than laugh. But at times like this, I feel better when I look for things to laugh about or at least not take so seriously. Well, this issue of no toilet paper is one of them. I was thinking about the summers my siblings, Alice, Billy and I spent in Sumner, GA with our grandparents. Arie and Bobby, my other siblings, always stayed home in St. Petersburg, FL. But, the three of us loved spending summers in the country. And, you know what? We never had toilet paper. My grandparents had an outhouse. In that outhouse was a big, thick Sears and Roebuck catalog. That catalog was our toilet paper. We city kids quickly learned to crumble up that paper until it was soft enough to use. Plus, for me it was the bonus of flipping through the catalog looking at all the cute outfits and toys.
There were other advantages to living in the country. For us, social isolation was the norm. We stayed on the farm all the time. We had few visitors. We only left to go to town on Saturday; or, to church on Sunday. However, I remember one summer, our grandparents were in New York and we stayed on the farm with our Aunt Ruthie Mae. We didn’t leave the farm for the entire summer. We had everything we needed. But, once a month, the rolling store, a large equipped truck, came around. We were in seventh heaven because our aunt bought us this huge box of cookies.
Then, there were the stories my mother told about the depression. Both my parents were born in 1921 and lived in the country. When the depression hit, Mom said it didn’t phase them. They always grew their own vegetables and raised or caught their own meat. They raised cows, hogs, chickens; caught raccoons, rabbits, squirrels. Mom said they always had big fluffy biscuits or cat heads as she called them, syrup and homemade butter and clabber milk to drink. I asked her about stories I’d heard about people jumping out of windows because they lost all their money in banks. She said, back then, people she knew were afraid of banks. They kept their money in a can under the house or in their mattress. I remember seeing my grandfather, pull a brick from the fireplace and then pull out a can with money in it. I never saw him pull out an empty can. To me, they were unafraid and rich even during hard times.
With laughter, we can also feel unafraid and rich. So, let’s realize how rich we are by thinking about things that make us smile and even laugh. Laughter removes fear. And for the moment, it sure does feel better than thinking about things that make us scared.
Now, I live in a rural area with my family. In a way, I’ve circled back to where I started all those summers ago. We have toilet paper now, but I’ve told my husband and daughter, I refuse to get caught up in the toilet paper scare…. we have lots of old catalogs and newspaper on hand; just in case…
Dear Lord, help me remember laughter is medicine for the spirit. Laughter makes everything seem brighter. Lord, show me how to always replace fear with laughter. Thank You, Lord. Amen!