The sunglasses weren’t big enough like I had hoped they would be.
They didn’t hide the tears; they simply masked them. They weren’t helpful in getting rid of the red, puffy eyes, or silencing the curse words I muttered under my breath. They weren’t the shield I desperately needed that day.
And as I slid into the classroom, earlier than usual, my student asked me why I had arrived so much sooner than she. “I was wandering,” I answered, although in my jumble of words I’m not sure if those were the ones that came out. “I didn’t know what else to do.”
And it’s true. And in so many ways, I still don’t.
That night, I sunk into the bath water, hoping to wash away the tears and the day. It too, was not enough. I held onto my book, seeking to get lost in words and yet in a painful irony the words only seemed to mirror my day.
I had been walking around in a haze that day. For days before, and days after, the haze followed. It was a familiar, painful, aching sorrow. The kind that you know nothing in this world will fix. Not the words, “it’s for the best,” not the hug from a friend, not the chocolate you dig out from the back of a freezer.
And I’m sad, but I’m also angry, angry at the words I’ve let slip, angry at the resentment I’ve clung to, but also angry at my tears. Angry that I’m sad. Because I think, somehow, in this twisted world, we’ve equated sadness to the absence of joy. As if being sad isn’t healing. As if sadness is holding onto the past. As if we shouldn’t buy the box of Kleenex because the tears shouldn’t be there in the first place.
And so as I’ve wandered through the events scribbled into my day planner, I’ve compared and I’ve been sorry for the tears and the sadness. I’ve stared down at my boots, step, by step, and whispered into my heart that I’m sorry I’m sad, and I’m sorry I’m broken, and I’m sorry I’m grieving.
But this is the thing that Jesus keeps reminding me in this hazy season: He wept.
He is the God who wept.
And I can’t help but think, that as I withdraw in moments and find solace in my sadness, that He too did the same.
That as I try to hide my tears, shame dripping amongst them as I slip on my sunglasses for the umpteenth time, or slide into the solitude of my car, that He tells me He catches them all in a bottle. They don’t fall haphazardly on the ground, or dissolve into the redness of my cheeks. He catches them all. He tells me there is a time to weep, and a time to laugh – a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
We talk a lot about the laughing. There is an entire section in Chapters of the positive mindset, breathing words and false hopes that if you set your mind to the realm of positivity your life will be more fulfilled. We talk a lot about dancing, too. We pull ourselves out into a world that gives us distraction upon distraction upon distraction: alcohol and food and video games and lives filled with hundreds of phone contacts and Facebook friends. But we don’t do a lot of talking about the mourning. We do a lot of the tough love, the “keep your chin up, grow thicker skin and push through.”
But I just keep coming back to those words of my Jesus, that He was the one who wept. And He is the one who catches my tears.
So instead of my shame defining who I am –
today it is Jesus,
he one who wept. The one who laughs and cries,
the one who tells me that I am blessed as I mourn because He is the God who comforts, who holds, who catches, who redeems.