It's been 8 years now. I remember because I was two weeks from giving birth to my middle son when I went to his funeral, so every year about this time I count up the years and remember.
The sun was bright as I drove from College Station to Waco the morning of the funeral and plodded down the aisle of the over-stuffed church to the seat at the front that my childhood friends had saved me. They had already seen him in his casket and said their personal goodbyes, but I was too late, which was just as well, because I wanted to remember him with the life spilling out of his eyes and through his easy laughter.
Even 8 years later, the laughter is what I think of when I think of Kyle Lake, my childhood friend, something of an older brother, and someone who demonstrated to me how to enjoy God. His laugh was more of a giggle, sometimes a mischievous cackle, sometimes an explosive release of the large life inside of him. He was always giggling at something, even at inappropriate times, and he wasn't satisfied until everyone around had joined in with him.
I still count up the years since he died and count up how old he would be and wonder about his children and hug his parents when I go home. But mainly I think about his giggle, and I giggle myself with mist in my eyes.
A few weeks ago, our incredibly talented worship pastor, Joseph, led us in a song he'd written about the resurrection. He invited us to think on that moment when the heart of Jesus went from deathly still to beating once again and to consider what that moment means for all of us who believe. And then the song began and I just cried because that beating heart is everything, everything. Or as Joseph writes: Now love can never die.
And as I thought about the resurrection, I thought of Jesus in that moment, alone in the tomb, coming back to life. I tried to peek in and imagine the scene: Life flows through Him again. No one knows yet that His heart is beating again, but that beating heart will soon reverberate across ages and generations. That beating heart--oh to hear it myself!--has taken down sin and death. That beating heart has won victory for anyone who will believe. The rescue has happened!
I imagined Him there in the tomb, relishing that moment He'd won for us and all that accompanied the sound of His beating heart. I thought specifically of Colossians 2: And you being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us....He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
Wiping away requirements held against us.
Disarming His enemies.
That beating heart made a humiliating spectacle of all that He conquered.
I imagined these truths running through His mind as He rose from the grave.
And then I heard Kyle's giggle in my mind.
That full-of-life giggle, that knowing laughter that conveyed the wild freedom of grace and his blessed assurance that all was right with the world.
Perhaps Jesus laughed like that in that moment of His resurrection, rejoicing that His grace was already making things new and exalting that heavy chains were being released.
Of course, I don't really know what happened in that moment or how Jesus responded as His heart started beating again. But I do know what's happened because of that moment. By faith in Christ, I've experienced the reverberations of that heartbeat: new life, grace, and hope.
And because of His heartbeat, I giggle, so sure of grace, like my friend Kyle surely must be doing in His presence.
I laugh at the days to come.