Smile again, laugh again and live again

I will smile again. I will laugh again. I will live again.

We’ve spent several days recently at the house my mom and dad built together back in 1972. The exercise of sifting through boxes, bins, closets, folders and reminiscing about the photos, awards, trophies and family memories dating back as far as a century ago has been mixed with the emotional roller coaster of highs and lows along the way.

So many of the family is no longer with us, but we were able to remember and celebrate their lives.

Unfortunately, you find out some things — good or bad — after someone is gone. You may have experienced the same thing in your journey. For example, my dad was one of the top Nabisco salesmen in Louisiana for many of his 41 years with the company. His route books, letters and awards from the company — along with the many rewards — demonstrated that clearly.

My mom and dad finally made their trip to Israel after they retired. We discovered pictures and other memorabilia in a box, much of which I’d never seen until this week.

I also stumbled across pictures of my dad when he was 13. There was a stunning spittin’ image resemblance to images of me at the same age.

But there were other discoveries. As we cleaned, organized and decluttered, someone came across my mom’s 2019 calendar. It was turned to August 2019, the month she died. At the top of the calendar, she had written the words at the beginning of this article: I will smile again. I will laugh again. I will live again.

For a few years, my mom had struggled. My dad had been sick for several years and ultimately passed away in July 2017. She became lonely and wasn’t experiencing life to its fullest. When she visited us in Colorado in 2018, she had the time of her life and was getting a breath of fresh air (literally and figuratively), but we realized then she was wrestling with life.

SMILE AGAIN. LAUGH AGAIN. LIVE AGAIN.

I knew some of this, but she wouldn’t let me in to help. Mom admitted her loneliness (even on Facebook) and that she couldn’t find the joy she once had. And, she would always talk about how life was going to be better around the next turn. Or after she got past this event or that situation.

She was determined to smile again, to laugh again and to live again. She had written that on her August 2019 calendar. On August 7, indeed, she was laughing again, and she was living again. That’s the day she died unexpectedly during a routine medical procedure and joined my dad.

Friends, though it grieves me to learn how she lived the final years of her life, I don’t tell that story so you will pity my mom or feel bad for her last days. I’m here to absolutely tell you that you can smile again, laugh again and live again right now. You don’t need to wait until tomorrow or the next doctor visit or the next job or the next event in your life. And, you certainly don’t have to wait until you die!

Whether you’re stalled in life or struggling with fear, failure, loneliness, despair or hopelessness, here’s the message for you: Today’s the day to push through it, now is the time to get to the other side.

What you’re doing now isn’t working, right? So why not try something different, something new that might just let you smile, laugh and live again?!

There is a season for everything. If you’ve spent too long in the season that doesn’t allow you to smile, laugh and live, it’s time to changes seasons. The season is here for you to heal, build, laugh, dance, gather, embrace, mend, speak, love and experience peace!

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

SMILE. LAUGH. LIVE AGAIN!

Frankly, I don’t want you to live life like my mom did in her final years. But I also want you to remember the hope she penned on the calendar as an incentive for you to change seasons. Her name was Eloise. You have my permission to use her as your example. She would be cheering for you, I know. And your success will make her smile big and laugh with great joy!

Now, if this isn’t you, you probably know someone who is living defeated or crushed. It’s also your time to help those friends or family heal, build, laugh, dance, gather, embrace, mend, speak, love and spread peace. Make it your mission to help someone finish strong!

Will you do it!?

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