I was driving and chatting with my friend Brenda, when there was a sudden break in the conversation as she stuttered and turned her body fully toward me. I looked over at her and she seemed to be trying to block the sun from blinding me by tilting her head side to side. But there were no rays of sun hitting me. I was completely confused. (Later I would learn she could see the bewilderment in my eye. Note: eye, not eyes). I turned my head directly looking at her and sputtered, “What?” as she broke into laughter and pointed at my left eye. I turned back to put full attention on the road and lifted my finger to my left eye. I was wearing sunglasses but my finger kept going straight through and I actually poked myself in the eye! I then began to laugh hysterically. I was missing the left lens of my sunglasses. Brenda was bent over laughing and I would have been except I needed to keep control of the car. I kept saying over and over, like someone in shock, “I just poked my own eye, I just poked my own eye…”
We couldn’t stop laughing. By the time we calmed down Brenda had come up with a strange (some might say morbid) request. (As if it wasn’t strange enough that I had driven oblivious to the fact that I was wearing half of a pair of sunglasses.) “You’ve got to keep those glasses so you can wear them when I’m dying and you come to visit me”. Brenda is not ill. And she’s younger than me and dearly loved by me, so I prefer I die before she does; but I love that her thought processes are as utterly strange as mine. If I don’t die suddenly, I definitely want friends who will find reasons to laugh with me as I am in the process of dying.
As much as the laughter, the glee in her request has set the mood of this memory. This memory could have been one of embarrassment and fear over me being so unobservant that I drove to her house, picked her up and then drove a number of blocks without the slightest inkling that I was missing a lens in my sunglasses. But instead this memory will be forever marked by the healing joy of shared laughter. We both commented that we hadn’t laughed that hard in a long time. Brenda said it was good medicine. I’ll be saving this cheap pair of glasses for years to come as a symbol of a friendship that promises laughter in good and bad times.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.