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Topic: Laughter (10/18/04)
TITLE: Even So, Laugh
By Susan Mendenhall
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My eyes flew open as my body jerked straight up with a catapult effect to see my dorm infested with daylight and the continuous shrieking of that hated wake-up machine. “Ten seventeen?!” Nearly choking on disgusting morning-mouth saliva, I dug my feet out of a tangled mass of sheet and stumbled across the tiny room, clicking off the alarm on my way to the bathroom. My thoughts whirled in a sleepy cyclone as I hastily popped my contacts in and, reaching for a comb with one hand and my toothbrush with another, tried to remember what day it was. “Wednesday!” I nearly screamed, spewing toothpaste foam on the tiny mirror reflecting my horror-filled face. Today I was expected to give my speech in Political Science – worth a quarter of my grade and beginning in less than 15 minutes!
Leaving the splattered mirror and not registering the gentle “plop” of my toothbrush’s fatal decent into the toilet, I threw on the T-shirt and jeans I had worn yesterday and sat at my desk. My legs bounced anxiously, as if willing the computer to hurry up, as I tried to download my speech document. A gasp of disbelief escaped me as an ugly pop-up appeared: “You have a virus. Your computer will be shut down.” “Blast you Spyware!” I yelled in frustration, cringing at the sound of my own voice in the tiny, quiet room.
I took a deep breath as I willed my mind to focus. “Lord, you have to help me!” I kept repeating under my breath. Could I remember my speech from memory? “Lord?” It had to be a minimum of twenty minutes. “Lord?!” I grabbed my backpack and stuffed my study book and notes inside, clutching my outline (thankfully THAT wasn’t on the computer) as I fumbled for my keys, phone, and Bible. Oh no. I was in charge of leading Bible study that night. I hadn’t even had time the past few days to do laundry, let alone do extra studying. I sighed in annoyance as I slammed my door shut behind me and flew down the empty hallway, muttering. First I wake up late, then my computer blows up and I’m left having to recite an important speech I can hardly recall, now I have to lead a study I haven’t prepared for! How could it get any…
I nearly threw my head back and screamed with animalistic rage. No car. Just a nice towing ticket, from “Bailey and Bailey – We’re The Good Guys!” fluttering mutely on the parking meter next to me.
I glanced at my wrist to check the time, just as I realized I hadn’t thought to strap my watch on in the frenzied rush earlier. I stood on the chipped sidewalk in the late morning sunshine, my shoulders slumped in defeat and desperately willing myself not to cry. Lord? I still clutched the outline to my speech in my left hand, my Bible tucked under my arm and my left hand holding the now-useless car keys.
Well, this is as good a time as any to have a devotional.
My lips were already fully bloomed into a smile by the time I had sat down on the sidewalk, and I couldn’t help it – I laughed. I thought about my alarm clock and my computer and my 4-foot high pile of dirty laundry and my unspoken speech and the fact that I had mismatched flip-flops on. I gazed at the empty parking space and the note from The Good Guys, and tears started streaming down my face as I shook with silent laughter. No doubt most of the people that passed by were struck by the sight of me; I was too busy looking up verses for that night’s Bible study – joy seemed like pretty good topic.