Do you remember as a kid ever laughing so hard that milk either came out your nose or at least almost did? Or were you ever having so much fun that an adult inevitably told you to settle down? These times leave an indelible impression on us. They are good for our souls!
I remember one time in particular being with my best friend, Kim, as my mom drove us home from somewhere, and we stopped at a little burger joint. We were sitting at the table eating our lunch, and we heard the woman at the register taking someone’s order. Her voice sounded EXACTLY like Marvin Martian, the space alien from Bugs Bunny, who always stated that he was going to “annihilate you with my space mod-u-la-tor.” (and he sounded out the syllables just like that)
Hearing this, we started getting a little giggly. Then the soft serve ice cream machine made a rude noise. It was all over. I don’t think I had ever laughed so hard in my whole life. We doubled over, holding our sides. My mom said she was afraid we were going to choke so she put on a serious face and told us in no uncertain terms that we needed to control ourselves. I also feel certain that it might have been more the fact that we were embarrassing Mom, and I have no doubt that we were more than a little annoying.
Well, if you can picture that, you’ve got a glimpse of my weekend.
Nineteen women from my church went to Flat Rock, NC, this weekend for a retreat. A chance to get away, to bond with each other, have a little fun and maybe learn something about each other and ourselves in the process.
When we all checked in and went to the dining hall Friday night, there were some new faces amongst the old. All stages of life were represented. There were some that had young children, some were empty nesters, some retired, some caring for aging parents, some at a transition in life. All were carrying burdens of some shape or form.
All weekend we ate together, talked together, asked questions of each other, doled out the wisdom that comes from experience. And listened. We truly listened to each other. We were real and honest and vulnerable. People shared their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment. It was so refreshing: something we all need more of.
The comedian Victor Borge said “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” If that’s the case, there’s very little distance between these 19 women because laughter is something we did a lot of.
On Saturday evening, a local artist came in and did an art project with us. It was a highlight in a weekend full of highlights. The room hummed with energy, creativity, fun, and care for each other. Everyone, at some point, wandered around admiring all of the canvases at each table, talking with each “artist”. We were like kids again. No one wanted to go to bed!
Sunday morning rolled around, and we were already getting a little sentimental to leave this time together. As we hugged good-bye to old friends and new, I think we were all thankful for a respite from our daily obligations and responsibilities, for a chance to have fun, and for a time to laugh like kids again.