On Saturday Eldest (home from college) and Big Guy (home on a weekend visit) talked Snuggler and Little Guy into playing a long and complicated game which went on for a couple of hours (Dancer was off at the ballet). There was much laughter, with an occasional spark of irritation.
Life is good when laughter abounds. It is especially good to see Big Guy cheerful and happy. There are times when life seems normal, and he seems normal. I wish I could say I have learned how to treasure those happy times instead of immediately feeling the ache of having the norm benot-normal, but I'm not 100% there yet. There is a deep howl of the should-ness of life that emerges when I hear Big Guy laugh; I am ever-mindful of what ought to be, but is not.
It also depends on whether you have brought light with you. For me, that light comes from faith. It keeps me from groping about, panicked, in the echoing darkness, and allows me to glimpse the beauty that lies in the hollow depths.
Suffering can be a claustrophobic experience. It is dark, it is exhausting, it is clammy and cold. I desperately wish I could pull my son up from out of the depths, but I cannot. And so when I hear Big Guy laugh, I try very, very hard to focus on how his moment of joy is amplified as it echoes off the walls of my heart.