To some people, the sounds of Eden are the chirping of birds in a meadow or on a hilltop, the splashing and crashing of the ocean’s waves, the tinkling of a brook.
The sounds of silence.
I’m a city girl. The calm of the country makes me nervous. The quiet of suburbia gives me hives.
The cacophony of people and traffic energizes me. The soundtrack in my Eden is mostly 60’s music. My most spiritual experiences have not been in the woods but in the theater.
But the perfect sound of paradise is the sound of my 22-month old grandson Aaron’s laughter.
Aaron can laugh at anything. When he was a baby, he laughed if I sneezed. So I’d pretend to sneeze and send us both into the giggles. Aaron laughs at a pigeon flying off as we chase it and he laughs as his toes touch the water of his bath. He smiles at everyone and everything. His animated, and animating, smile reaches out to anybody nearby. He chuckles, giggles, chortles and guffaws. And I laugh, too. I laugh so much and so hard that I regret not having been more conscientious about doing my Kegel exercises. (Take note, ladies.)
Aaron’s laugh reflects the happiness which vibrates in every corner of his being. Aaron’s laugh is the sound of his love for life, unencumbered by sorrow or worry. It is pure joy made audible.
And I know it can’t last. I know what he doesn’t yet know.
I know that as we go through life, our disappointments and sorrows each leave an indelible scratch on our souls. And that no matter how much we are blessed, we will continue to be challenged by suffering. Our smiles and laughter are tempered by this knowledge and our experience. Surely it’s true to say that adults can’t laugh with innocence and purity.
Aaron, I say, keep laughing. Laugh and your laughter will be contagious. Your smiles will be reciprocated. Your joy will bring joy to others. The burdens you will have to bear will be less formidable.
And whenever I need a laugh, I think of you.