The Shortest Distance Between Your Messes and Your Sanity

October 3, 2013 | 22 comments

These are the moments that are writing our lives onto the skin of the world, these moments that might make a woman turn red with embarrassment … or pink with exuberant laughter …

She knew it late this afternoon. It was that moment when she realized — as she grabbed the plastic grocery bags from the car — that she wore her yoga pants to the store. Backwards. With the drawstring hanging down her back side.

And she laughed. For the first time in the day, she laughed. After a no-good, terrible, horrible, very-bad day, it made her laugh.

These are the moments, the make-your-kids-roll-their-eyes moments, that someone might write down into your eulogy, or talk about a generation later with their own children. How when the going got tough, their mom still laughed.

Sure, she wasn’t afraid to cry, but she knew the truth about how laughter. She knew that when make-you-snort laughter was written into the script of a life, it made the script bubble.

She knew how laughter is the shortest distance between her messes and her sanity.

And how sometimes she knew she’d just have to laugh, because if she didn’t laugh, she might just cry.

So she laughed when she wore her pants backward, and put the milk in the cupboard, and the corn flakes in the fridge. She laughed when she left rocks in their pockets, and heard them clinking in the dryer. She laughed — or at least she tried to — when she had to answer the door in her Hello Kitty robe because the plumber needed to fix the faucet, that made the leak, that put a big hole in the ceiling below.

She thought it most appropriate to laugh when, while serving the cheesy hashbrown casserole, someone scooped out the paper coupons that had been stuck between the rectangle-shaped frozen potatoes.

She had to laugh when she realized that the car was running on empty, and her husband had warned her about cutting things so close. So, with squinty eyes and clenched jaw, she willed that car to get to the tank. But one block from the station, her car stalled out.  In the middle of Main Street. In front of a few of her husband’s closest friends. Who kindly pushed the car to the tank. (And kept her little secret safe.)

She had to laugh when she couldn’t remember her passwords, but still knew all the words to all the songs by Def Leppard and Air Supply.

And she had to laugh, when her friend kindly reminded her that at least she remembered to wear pants to the grocery store.

And she was glad she had friends to laugh with.
And she knew she writing a better story with the laugh-track in it.
And that it was still okay to cry.
But man, did it ever feel good to laugh.

And thank God it’s Friday.

by | October 3, 2013 | 22 comments


  1. Tonya

    It does feel good to laugh… and I can just see that woman at the grocery store realizing the wardrobe malfunction and laughing a good belly laugh. Thank you for this reminder today – to laugh.

    • dukeslee

      The “she” in this crazy story is yours truly. I am that crazy fool. Thanks for stopping Tonya!

  2. Lisa-Jo Baker (@lisajobaker)

    Best thing I’ve read today. Love laughing and reading and writing alongside you. Best kind of fun.

    • dukeslee

      Bless your ever-lovin’ heart, LJB. If it weren’t for those stupid pants (and your amazing words in my hands this afternoon) this day would have been a disaster. I love you girl. And pass the rusk. xo

  3. Sarah (theGIRL)

    My giggling babies in tonight’s bath reminded me of the pure joy of laughter for laughter’s sake. Yes to this kind of laugh-filled living!

    Happy Friday!

    • dukeslee

      Yes ma’am, Sarah! Giggling babies are irresistible laugh factories. 🙂

  4. Sharon O

    wonderful I could relate to so much of what was written. Yes we need to laugh at ourselves and not take life so seriously.

  5. Karrilee Aggett

    I love you, girl! I am sure you still looked Super Cute in your backwards Yogas! Laughing it my favorite… I do it every day! As in – Every. Single. Day. Oh – and you just rocked this FMF like a Boss! So happy to see your little gorgeous thumbnail over at Lisa Jo’s!

  6. Barb

    This is made me laugh out loud and smile ear to ear when I saw those beautiful girls! So glad I stopped by!

  7. Dea

    I wish one of your friends would have walked up behind you while you were out and pulled your tail! 🙂 Loved the laugh tonight.

  8. Anita

    Oh I so loved your post Jennifer, bless your heart. I’m sure God blessed us with the gift of laughter, for times like these 🙂

  9. Jody Lee Collins

    Jennifer, haven’t been here in the looooongest time. I had a day like that last week. I was so grateful for a sister/friend to sit with me and commiserate who helped be burst out laughing–‘holy carbonation’ or something like that…(Anne Lamott).
    Great write, my yoga pants wearing friend.

  10. Rebekah

    Earlier on FB I smiled when I read about your mishap, but now I laughed along with you when I read about your pants and what your friend said about remembering to wear your pants. 🙂
    How I love to laugh! Yes, we need a laugh-track to be written into our stories. Thank you!

  11. Alia Joy

    I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing near you. I have so many embarrassing stories that if I didn’t laugh, I really would just have to sit down and cry in humiliation. But to have friends to gather around and just laugh when life is messy and silly and a little unexpected. That is the best kind of blessing because it just loosens the soul a bit. So thank you for your fashion blunder. I’ve had enough to write a small ebook on what to check before you leave the house, restroom, or car. I needed to laugh and this did it. 😉

  12. Kris Camealy

    You are one of a kind, Jennifer! I mean that in the best of ways. I love how you managed to find the humor in so many little things gone awry 😉 Looking for excuses to laugh today.

  13. Karmen M.

    I have gone to church in my slippers before….then I liked it so much better than shoes that I did it on purpose sometimes. =) I have worn shorts out and then realized I hadn’t shaved above the capri line in days (I did not repeat this one, at least not on purpose). yup….just have to laugh.

  14. Eileen

    I agree. Laughter has a way of healing us. I’ve often said that I hope in heaven there is a ton of laughter. The kind of laughter that makes your stomach hurt and soda fly out your nose. 🙂

  15. Janet

    Hmm, thank God I won’t have to hear what’s said at my eulogy, and I mean that in a God-fearing, prayerful sense…Thank you for giving me a giggle this morning. I haven’t worn my yoga pants backwards, but I’ve certainly done the mismatched socks/shirt on inside out a few times (to the horror of my fifth graders and-why-should-they-care-anyway…) Oh! And HOW do you come up with these wonderful, out-of-the-box pearls for prompts! AND do you ever sleep?? Hugs, Janet

  16. Diane W. Bailey

    I should be writing, but your blurb on FB grabbed my attention…and I laughed. Thank you for sharing your yoga pants story, and for being someone I am crazy about because you ….are you! {{hugs}}

  17. trish

    And I just got my day’s laugh right here. God bless ya for your willingness to let it all hang out–including the string on your pants. Too funny.

  18. Leah Adams (@PointMinistries)

    I don’t laugh often enough AND I suffer for it. Thanks for the reminder that I need to laugh more often.

  19. Jillie

    “Laughter is good medicine…” I make a point of doing it My best advice to my daughter and her groom on their wedding day? “Laughter…is…key!!!” We cannot survive without it!
    Thanks for the laughter today, Jennifer. I loved this! Picked up right away on the fact that you were writing about you. Love the yoga pants “illustration”.


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