Lift Up Your Head and Laugh
“Lift up your head and laugh!”
He spoke as a prophet, but what did he know those thirty odd years ago?
What did he know of my future?
I was still so young then, with only a taste of raw and broken,
And visions of a whole life open before me,
Certainly not knowing quite what to expect,
But with dreams and plans nonetheless:
Happily ever after with maybe a few little bumps along the way…
Why not? And why not laugh?
Life could be, would be, one grand adventure.
It’s been a rather curious life indeed, this grand adventure of mine.
Now I shake my head and laugh at myself,
At how I clung to so much that prickled and burned and then gave way.
Yet mysteries and marvels came to me when least expected,
Laughter mixed with tears and sighs and more than a few bumps on the path,
So much good and so much grief mingled in.
So much for dreams and plans!
A worthwhile journey still, just not how I thought it would be.
It’s not just me, I know.
I watch the world walking by and I try to understand, wonder,
Where it is going: out and about, and home again, home again,
A million silent stories walking by,
A million mingling stories of mourning and mirth.
I have lived long and learned much, and I find myself speaking
To the young ones with their whole lives open before them
The words of the timeless sage thirty hundred years ago.
“There is a time for everything… A time to weep and a time to laugh.”
They have seen me weep, and I will weep again,
But for now, I will lift up my head and laugh.
This Is My Story
I start this book with my story because I want to “do unto others” as I would want them to do unto me. When I read a book, I want to know who the author is and why I should care about what they say. I want to know if their life story is at all relevant to mine, whether it resonates with where I am trying to go. This doesn’t mean the demographics and details match, or that the story arc is the same, just that there is a point of connection, a rapport.
Here, as I write about how a wounded and weary Christian can still somehow move forward in faith, I am a fellow traveler on the bumpy path, inviting others to walk along with me a little while. Yet this book is not just about me, but all who have gone before us, all who walk with us now, and what we can learn from them.
I’m in my late fifties now, a follower of Jesus for well over 40 years. It’s been quite the sojourn. There have been times I was tempted to pitch it all and stomp away. Yet despite the crises and the cynicism that burned my soul, by God’s grace I chose to rise up and walk forward on the path with him. I want to take others with me. This is my guidebook.
This is also my story. As my story, it is my own perspective. Others, including dear friends whom I highly respect, had different experiences in the same situations. And as my story, I don’t give many details about other people, especially my children. They have the right to their own stories. So do you. When I write about my troubling experiences, it is not as a vendetta to get even or to expose anyone. It is my way of helping others rise from the ashes with me.
So, this is my story. Let us begin without further ado. Once upon a time...
Here's the first installment! Hippy Child