can we laugh together?

My new friend pulled me aside and with a smile errupting on her face declared, “I’ve always wondered if blondes really do have more fun. Well, today they sure did.”

I was shocked by her comment. She’d enjoyed herself? I never would have guessed.

That afternoon, I’d opened our home for a small women’s gathering. While most of the guests ranged in age from twenty-five to fifty, she’d graced our group at eighty years old. I’d planned a rather laid-back time to get to know one another, but somehow our casual sharing time piveted to hours filled with hilarious stories, honeymoon bloopers, and an unveiling of our most embarrassing moments.

Throughout the afternoon, this prim and proper senior citizen had been so quiet and the host in me became quite self-conscious. All etiquette had been thrown out the door. My house was not spotless. Guests ate store-bought food. We definitely were being too loud. A time or two, I actually heard a few snorts from guests’ laughter. Was she shocked at my imperfect hospitality? Was she thinking, “This is what’s gone wrong with our younger generation?” I just didn’t know, but it felt good to laugh. It had been too long.

As she continued on, the highlight of the day revealed itself.

“Thank you for inviting me, because this was the most delightful time I’ve had in a long while. I was too embarrassed to tell my story in the large group, but I want to share it with you. I have a feeling you’ll like it.”

My jaw dropped. As this precious and refined elderly woman rewound the clock and whispered her most hilarious (and a tad bit racy), bed-shaking gone wrong newlywed story, I laughed so hard that tears ran down my legs. In that moment, I received one of the most honored gifts offered to a hostess: a guest feeling the freedom and vulnerability to share her story.

Nearly forty years separated us in age, yet in that moment, we were peers. Knee deep in her embarrassment, I could relate to every word. As she finished, I flung my arms around her and thanked her for making my day, week, year.

“I haven’t told that to anyone in more than fifty years,” she reminisced as her face glowed. I suddenly felt this kinship with her; our souls now bound by a secret honesty that she had never unveiled. I don’t know why she kept it a secret.  It was a funny yet appropriately modest, with just a hint of a sex story (are you feeling awkward yet?), but I sure was honored that she chose me.

Often that’s what radical hospitality does. It breaks down barriers, gives room for transparency to occur, and allows others freedom to flourish. Even if it’s something as simple as uninhibited laughter, it’s so good for the soul.

As everyone left, I began to clean up. (Sigh, my least part of hosting, but we do the tasks that must be done, right?) I was exhausted, but my heart was full. I turned on some upbeat praise songs. As I washed the dishes, I thought to myself, We were each made for this. God created us to belong, to welcome others into our lives, to do life together because none of us were made to go it alone.

As I watched women come together in community that day, women who didn’t know each other when they walked through my door, women from all different backgrounds and walks of life, shy and introverted, larger than life extroverts, sisters, daughters, mothers, friends, business owners, waitresses, accountants, and students, a piece of heaven’s veil opened for a small glimpse of what it might be like. With no one striving to outpace the other, no one one-upping each other, or stepping on each other’s toes, it was a time to laugh, uplift, and encourage fellow Daughters of the King that while life is hard, God is good.

Our afternoon, which lingered into the evening because no one wanted our time to end, reminded us that we all need laughter and celebration in our lives. It took one person to go first and share their funny story and the rest fell into place. In the midst of swirling deadlines, negative news stories, and struggling family situations, joy erupted.

With that in mind, I cranked my CD player, twirled around my kitchen and belted, “My soul, my soul, magnifies the Lord.” I raised my hands in worship, then plunged them deep in the sudsy hot water and joined Mary in singing,“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.” (Luke 1:46-48 ESV)

With stomach muscles sore from laughing (yes, I’m completely out of shape), I crawled into bed with a little grin. Sweet friend, there’s nothing like unfiltered laughter with a girlfriend. May we all pursue and prioritize those kind of moments. I need them in my life, don’t you?

When’s the last time you had a good belly laugh? Maybe we can start the ball rolling in the comments.

Do you have a blooper that happened recently? A funny embarrassing moment? A bad date story that never gets old?

I’m pouring my coffee now because it’s been a tough week and there’s nothing I’d love more than swapping stories in real life, so this is the next best thing.

(First shared over at (in)courage where we did laugh together ;))