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Topic: Laughter (10/18/04)
TITLE: The Night We Laughed
By Alan Vaca
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Mama had gone out twice during the day trying to borrow from people who had been kind to us in the past. But then, our debts had piled up and no one was willing to help anymore. She had been running around trying to get a job but had not been successful.
My eldest sister, Julie, looked after us when Mama was out. She carried me on her back and told us Mama was going to bring home food for us all. When she came in half an hour later, I was crying out of hunger. Her face was drawn and she looked so exhausted. She took me into her arms and gathered the rest around her. We understood that she had not brought home anything to eat and we just sat in silence.
"Come with me, my children", she said. She got up and led us out of the house and we followed without asking where we were going.
The church was located on top of a low hill, five minutes walk from the one room shed we called home. Since it was a weekday the church was empty and Mama led us to the alter. She made us all kneel before the alter and did the same behind us.
Her voice cracked into a sob as she began to pray aloud, “Lord, my children are hungry and I have nothing to give them. Lord… please feed my children…” And all of us cried as she prayed.
Since it was winter, it got dark by the time we reached home. We were so hungry but strangely we were at peace because we believed Mama when she said, “Now don’t you cry, God will take care of us”.
A little while after we had returned, there was a knock on the door and Julie went to answer it. We heard someone speaking to her in low tones and when she came back she was smiling. In her hand, she had a big bowl filled with rice, enough for all of us for the evening. A stranger had had a sudden urge to bring us food at that time of the evening.
It was the best meal we ever had although it was only boiled rice and vegetables.
That night, as we sat around the charcoal heater, we sang songs of praise that Uncle Sempi taught us. We listened with rapt attention as Mama read us the story of Old Man Moses and his miracles. We laughed with delight as Julie told us jokes she read from comic books.
We had nothing for tomorrow but we laughed for joy. Our little hearts were filled with so much faith in a God who really looked after the fatherless.