The One Who Weeps


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.

It’s Okay to Swim.

Today, nestled against the old wooden column, you felt the familiar heartache, the one you’ve felt since you were a little girl and you exchanged hurtful words with your hero. Tears threatened to fall, mixing with the peeling paint, as you leaned against it, sure you were in need of the support.

People keep disappointing you – and he will keep disappointing you. He will keep shattering your hopes because you keep expecting him to know what they are when he just doesn’t.

It doesn’t mean it’s not okay to be sad. You fear those tears because you’re afraid you’ll drown in them.

But my darling, sometimes you are so afraid of drowning that you forget it’s okay to swim.

Sometimes you so fear getting your heart broken that you forget it’s still good to fall in love.

Sometimes you fear people leaving so you hold your arms closed, but arms were never meant to be empty for long.

Life is meant to be this delicate, beautiful balance of extremes. Lots of times you’ll get it wrong. But so many times you’ll get it right, too.

Just don’t hold the broken pieces so close. I know it’s hard. I know it’s seemingly impossible. But life is not meant to be a series of safe, calculated risks. We don’t learn on the shore. We don’t grow when life is filled with shallow, meaningless friendships.

We learn and we grow when we cry. When we tell the ones who’ve hurt us that they’re letting us down. When you fall for the boy because his heart and his voice make your heart dance. When you open your arms and hold the broken even though in the process you’ll end up getting a little broken, too.

That’s how we grow.

So next time let the tears fall against the peeling paint of that column. Let it hold you.

You’ll find yourself standing, alone, a little stronger, in no time.


Silent Prayers & Creators of Beauty

\It was dark in the studio. I had always hated how it got so dark with the shades drawn. The slingback chairs were the kind you sunk back into, and as we sat across from each other there wasn’t much light but the lamps illuminating the black chalkboard wall behind me.

I am in many ways a seeker of wisdom, and when life began to shatter around me that fall, I sought out those who I knew could speak wisdom in my life. This woman, my professor, an artist, was one of those people. She wore dark glasses perched on her nose, and her dark gray hair was what I hoped someday my own would look like. She was kind, gentle, and taught me so much about my art and how to create. As I poured out my heart to her, and laid bare the broken rubble that had become my family, she spoke quietly into the empty studio.

“Keep creating,” she said. “Keep painting. Keep losing yourself in your art.” I had nodded in response, the familiar tears welling in my eyes because I knew that sometimes brushstrokes were simple prayers when words simply weren’t enough.

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