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I grow weary because of my groaning;
every night I drench my bed
and flood my couch with tears.
My eyes are wasted with grief
Throughout the bible, we encounter the holy narrative of anxiety, frustration, lamentation, grief, and tears. At times they can be distant words, at a far off time felt by a character in an ancient story. Yet, there are moments in our life where we can actually feel their pain and understand their tears. I know that during this moment in time, I have felt the tears welling up deep inside my soul, waiting to be liberated.
Holy Week is an opportune time for us to fully embody the meaning and importance of tears. The Gospel passages leading up to Holy Week are filled with tears. The woman with the alabaster jar washes the feet of Jesus with tears. Jesus cries both at the tomb of Lazarus and over Jerusalem. The overwhelming sadness and anguish he suffers in the Garden soak his clothes with tears. We feel the pain of Peter’s tears as he denies Jesus, and we taste the salt of Mary’s tears as she stands at the foot of the cross.
On this Holy Tuesday, we must bless our tears. In our anxiousness and uncertainty, perhaps we may have the tendency to hold back. We often push ourselves to be strong and contain what is welling up deep inside. Maybe we are worried that if the tears begin to flow, they will not stop. The pain, fear, and hopelessness are just too much, and they will consume and wash us away in a flood.
Yet the tears of Jesus and those around him, testify to their beauty and necessity. Tears soften the path as we make our way forward. The emotions they provoke, speak to an inner stirring that will lead us to the abundant beautiful fields of the future. Something holy is happening inside.
The vulnerability we feel is part of the unfolding realization that we are more than self. There is a connectedness in our pain. It does not matter where we were born or what language we speak. Both laughter and tears come from the same place; our hearts and the knowledge that we are created in the image of God. These emotions are not only for ourselves, but they are also for one another; friends, family, strangers, the entire world. We long to look into the eyes of one another and to feel an embrace. Tears soften even the hardest of hearts.
Our faith encourages us to take our grief to God. God is with, and Jesus cries every one of our tears. Be strong and cry. Bless those tears, keep crying out to God even when you feel your prayers are distant. Breathe in the sorrow and exhale hope. At the source of all those tears are our compassion, longing, hope, and love. At that holy center is Jesus Christ.
Walk forth in the knowing that our tears will replenish our fading wells. These tears we cry today will become sacred memories and allow us to see what is essential in life. Today, tomorrow, and each day forward, remember that when we cannot see anything else, somehow, we will see the light of Christ. We will be together once again. We will celebrate, and the tears of today will become tears of joy and gratitude at our reunion.
Tears - where we feel the power of love and see the beauty of Jesus Christ.
“he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. ‘Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” Luke 6:21
I leave you with this story:
Etty Hillesum, the Jewish girl who kept a journal while at Auschwitz, wrote of an “uninterrupted dialogue” with God. She had epiphanies even in that morally barren place. “Sometimes when I stand in some corner of the camp, my feet planted on Your earth, my eyes raised towards Your Heaven, tears sometimes run down my face, tears of deep emotion and gratitude.” She knew the horror. “And I want to be there right in the thick of what people call horror and still be able to say: life is beautiful. Yes, I lie here in a corner, parched and dizzy and feverish and unable to do a thing. Yet I am also with the jasmine and the piece of sky beyond my window.” Prayer is a subversive act performed in a world that constantly calls faith into question. (as told by Philip Yancey)
Phone by Joseph Lipari