My family of origin are an expressive bunch. Usually their expression is rather temperamental and they can run over each other with comments and attitudes. Gary's family was quite the opposite--they would ignore the most enormous issues, hoping no one would notice the elephant under the carpet. He and I carry these tendencies into our family to an extent, in that I'm open and expressive and he's not so much; so though he talks and laughs at church and elsewhere, he's often much quieter (not in a hostile way, just kicking back and taking it easy) here at home. I think that's why he doesn't end up being a huge player in my blogs--there's not so much interaction to cover there.
I have been given a character trait connected with this expressive side that is for the most part for my own benefit--it is that I am generally happy in spite of most circumstances. It isn't anything I can attribute to myself; I don't stir it up, it just happens. Katie and Tim and I will be laughing and talking at the dinner table, and Gary sits back much of the time, a little bemused and just quiet. We don't really notice it too much, though we don't mean to ignore him; we just get so involved in the subject at hand.
Sometimes, though, it gets out of hand and I smile or laugh too readily, when I ought to be sober. This happened at our Women's Retreat when we were preparing for Communion. In fact, the women serving it were in a very right frame of mind, and I was glad for that. Dear Jeannie Marzolf was leading the sharing of the Lord's Table, and it was clear that she was overcome.
There was a transition time, and the women in the front row rose to serve the elements. I, unthinking, rose too, as if we were all standing to sing. Realizing my mistake but forgetting the circumstances for that flash moment, I giggled out in embarrassment. A woman behind me did the same thing, so either it was more understandable than it seemed or perhaps I led her to so stumble. Even while I was sitting there feeling thoroughly aghast at myself, I dropped my piece of bread on the floor. I was and still am so thankful that it is a remembrance of His forgiveness of our sins, and that He calls me His child! I definitely felt like a four-year-old during that time. All the more I was aware of my need for Him. It also indicates that even a seemingly positive trait needs to be handled properly at all times so that it isn't a sin factor.
Being of a happy disposition helps, though, in many of our troubles. I tend to focus on better things rather than worry or fret. But others are affected by it too. Sometimes the more sober sorts don't understand, but I don't always understand their sobriety either. Three times in the last couple of weeks, though, we have been told that our three different companions' cheeks hurt from laughing with us so much. And I didn't think we were being extraordinarily funny! I don't remember when I last felt my cheeks hurt; I guess they're more physically fit than I am as a whole. We just do laugh a lot in our lives, and I like it that we make others laugh some. In our previous church they were selling tickets to see a comedienne. I didn't see the need, since we laugh enough already.
Still, though I don't think of myself as a crying type, I seem to cry readily when I see a certain very few people (one reader may recognize himself here). I don't know why that is. They probably think I'm quite the case; I guess they're right. It didn't used to be that way...maybe it's the time in my life when things go all out of whack for a while; and anyway, I would rather feel deeply than not feel at all. Maybe there's light at the end of that tunnel. Surely I need to cry in awareness of my own sin, or that of others...still, I won't mind losing the tendency to cry at the drop of a hat, but please let me keep the laughter!
Proverbs 15:13 A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.