Laughter is Good for the Soul

In Celebration of the Life of LaMarcus Jackson
July 2, 1959 - March 11, 2012

Haynes Mortuary, Texarkana Texas, May 19, 2012
The last time I was in this place was at our grandmother’s funeral. I wrote a poem for her, but somehow I could barely recite it as I was overcome with grief. My grandmother, more mother than grandmother, was gone.

I have had other moments of grief. Like when I lost my granddaughter, Melliah. Nothing has EVER hurt so much. But, after losing both sides of my life—my past in my grandmother and my future with my granddaughter, there are some things I’ve learned. As I’ve matured, I can safely say that I’ve learned these lessons through some hard knocks. But, I’ve also learned these lessons from those who cared and loved me enough to share their insights.

When I lost Melliah I received two pieces of advice. The first was:


The second piece of advice came from 1 Thessalonians 4:13—Brothers (and Sisters), we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men (and women), who have no hope.

Therefore, the second piece of advice I received was to GRIEVE, but not without Hope.

As I’ve traveled around the world, there are two things that I’ve know. Sorrow has no ethnicity, color, race or creed. And neither does joy. And if we are to grieve properly, we must know that grieving well includes JOY, too. We cannot be here today in celebration of LaMarcus Jackson’s—our Mark’s—life without knowing that our sorrow will only be healed by the joy we find in the whole of his life.

Grief has a way of finding us. When Job was lambasted by hurt and sorrow than he had ever known he received some good news. The good news was the “[God] would yet fill his mouth with laughter, and his lips with shouting.” If you aren’t shouting the good news about what we’ve learned as Disciples of Christ, you won’t make it through the grief of our losing Mark. I looked up other ways to dispel grief and I realize that we forget that in the midst of tears, laughter comes and soothes the spirit. But, then Proverbs tells us that a “Joyful heart is good medicine” and Psalms explains yet further “then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongues with shouts of joy” because we know that God has done great things for us.

But in the midst of this storm of tears, Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a “time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

I want everyone to look at the program (see above) I was honored to have created and see the picture there. We have our time for sorrow and then there are those moments when we laugh even as we cry, and yes, we mourn our cousin, brother, nephew, uncle, father, grandfather, friend today with a passion. We miss him. But folks, I’m hear to tell you that our Mark gets the last laugh because he gets to DANCE.

Peace? Oh, Yeah. RIP Mark--We love you.


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