Not long ago, as we rounded the corner to the high school, my teenage son announced that he felt sorry for me.
We were driving through the rain on a hazy overcast day, and I wondered aloud, “Whatcha thinking about?”
“Nothing,” he replied. “You know it’s true that guys can think about NOTHING. I feel sorry for girls always having to be thinking about something.”
I smiled, accepted his condolences and dropped brought laughter for the day. As I circled the roundabout on the way home, I recalled another conversation I’d had with my other son just there ’s something before. This one was in private. A fifteen-year-old boy who needed to tell his mom something that had been weighing on his mind.
As we finished the dishes, he asked if he could talk to me for a few minutes.
I put the dishes aside and gave him my full attention.
“Sure! What’s on your mind?”
“Mom, I feel like I should tell you something, but I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”
“Okay, I’d like to hear what’s bothering you. Go ahead.”
After a long pause, he calmly broke the bad news to me:
“You’re not funny Mom. You and your friends get together and laugh, but I’ve been listening and there is NOTHING funny. Your friends are just laughing so you don’t feel bad. I thought you should know.”
“Hmmm…Thank you for sharing that with me. I really appreciate your feedback even when it’s uncomfortable to share. However, I think there ’s something you might not know about good friends. Good friends don’t need anything, in particular, to make them laugh. We really can laugh at NOTHING.”
Maybe it’s one of the differences between Mars and Venus. They can genuinely be sitting there thinking of NOTHING, and we can genuinely have soul-filling laughter over NOTHING.
I just returned from three fun-filled days laughing with my sisters about nothing in particular and everything in general.
Nothing. We laughed at nothing. And it was hilarious.
As they dropped me off at the airport to come back home, I burst into tears. I was sappy and gushy and all emotional as I sat at the airport waiting for my plane.
As I waited, I pulled out my journal and wrote a thank you note to everyone throughout the years who has brought laughter to my life. If you are among those that have shared a laugh with me, this is for you:
Thank you for making me laugh.
Thank you for having a sense of humor so in line with mine that a whole comedy sketch can pass between us with the meeting of our eyes. Thank you for that gift.
Thank you for your uncanny ability to laugh at everything and nothing with me.
All of that nothing has turned into something that has lifted my heart and shaped my view of the world.
Thank you for the occasions that I can read your mind so clearly that I must absolutely, at all costs, avoid eye contact.
Thank you for looking away in those moments.
Thank you for understanding the importance of not making a joke when I really gotta go. Thank you for intentionally bringing me laughter even when your own shoulders bear a heavy burden.
Thank you for acknowledging that sometimes life is hard and there is nothing we can do to alleviate the heartache of the other. Thank you for allowing me to set down my troubles for a time and enjoy the unabashed laughter that makes those hard times bearable.
Laughter has been the soundtrack of our friendship, playing on repeat in the background of my life like a mixed tape of favorite love songs…made even sweeter on those days when life seems hard. It’s the sound I look forward to hearing when you pick up the phone. It’s the sound my mind thinks of when I think of you. Laughter is the glue that binds our souls, and the thing we are best at doing.
Some things we have to work at…like finding the words to use to my sad or learning to share the complicated feelings of a tough situation, but laughter has always come so easily and freely for us.
Laughing with you is one of my favorite parts of living, and I cherish that role you’ve played in my life.
Today, all of that laughter we’ve shared brings me to tears, thankful for my friends who laugh at everything and nothing and bring such joy to my life.