I picked up a book recently that said:

Children laugh an average of about 150 times per day, while adults laugh about 10 times.

I have no idea where they dug up this information and at the moment I am too lazy to check for myself, however, I tend to think it's fairly true. Max laughs quite often, often at "nothing". I am somewhat of a "laughing individual", and yet still I feel pressed to find joy and abandon in everyday life. Having a little laugher around will be good for me. Hopefully he will rub off.


i have tears in my ears

Butter tart squares cooling on the counter and birch logs glowing in the fireplace. Baby asleep -- for now. I begin my vigil, waiting and wondering when -- hoping "if" -- he will wake up. His poor little internal clock is way off. After three nights of wee-hours playtime with Max, I decide to stay up, dressed, armed with snacks, TV shows, computer, and book, instead of dragging my poor bones repeatedly from bed.

Last night in these wee hours Max and I went for a walk, him bundled in his sleeping bag against the chilly air. It was "true" dark, forest dark, with little light pollution, stars standing crisp and cold on gently curved night sky. I pushed Max over our frosted driveway and felt overwhelmed by the greatness above me. Seeing the curve of the earth and 70-foot pines bending towards the rich blue-black -- as if a photo taken with a fish eye for NG. Except that no lens could replicate it, with the crunch of stones, and the smell of damp leaves and wood smoke.

The return here from Calgary left me emotionally and physically drained. Getting on the airplane to come to Sweden, my feet and stomach felt leaden. I haven't felt so torn before, so half in one place and half in another. I have been entirely naive about what it means to live half a world away from people you love, and yet, I could not change it even if I could go back. Before living here I didn't even really know Martin. And knowing him better --understanding his background and family life and what helped to shape his way of thinking -- that's only one of many good things of being here. But making your mother cry is awful.

During our visit my mom and I found ourselves at the worn kitchen table, eating bits of leftover Thanksgiving dinner and talking about the heaviness of our hearts. I feel particularly close to my family. We are good friends and enjoy hanging out. And yet there were times when it felt like the emotions were pulling me under, choking out my ability to live in the moment. I talked about this, and my mom talked about her struggles with understanding God's intentions for us all. Her words, "life is a series of gains and losses," reminded me of the way the write of Ecclesiastes sounded. We sat there, with the midmorning sun pouring in, and wept. In the midst of my tears I started laughing. I was helpless to stop it when I realized we were crying with bowls of what we call "sunshine salad" in front of us. Two big softies cryin' in our sunshine salad.

Dealing with this emotional rollercoaster brought me around to thinking of the "problem of pain" disproving the existence of a loving God. But I like the way one writer put it, calling the greater question the "problem of pleasure". Without the pain, the lack, the abstinence that results in great anticipation instead of instant gratification, would these anticipated things be as joyful, as lovely?

It's a thorny question at two a.m. when I am physically and emotionally spent. Baby is finally asleep, I hope, and I am wishing for a dreamless sleep myself.