Laughter feels different now.
What took so much effort a year ago, rolls over my tongue and out from my lips with ease.
It either takes everything from you. Or it gives everything to you.
I’m alive now.
I ask myself daily, is it just the melanoma that has changed me? Is it the ten years before that of battling named and unnamed disease? Or is it that I found support systems through church, doctors, recovery groups, and a special parenting community that gets me? I’m honestly not sure. Maybe it’s everything. But laughter feels different now.
Laughter doesn’t feel cautious, as it did in the teenage years. Did I laugh at the right time? Is my laugh different than hers? Laughter doesn’t feel raucous, as it did during my early twenties – when days and nights became a blur of dancing and drinks. It doesn’t feel forced, as it did during pregnancy or early parenting years. It feels invited and welcomed; it shakes my very soul.
Laughter feels a little bit like my wedding day. It feels like coming home. It feels easy. Joyful. And there are spaces for my breath.
I don’t remember ever laughing like this.
I don’t remember grinning like this. Just the other day one grin exploded from ear to ear when a stranger saw my tattoo, and celebrated with me, “Yeah to being alive!”
I’ve never been so free.
I don’t doubt my calling or question why I’ve been called here.
I’m alive now.
And even in claiming every big thing, the biggest roars louder.
Thank you Melanoma for every pain you magnified. For without each, I would not know such awesome joy. You have blessed me beyond words. (Though perhaps some of these have done our time together justice.)