Some who know me might find that hard to believe, but most likely not, I think. Probably too many moments noticing that I paused just a little too long while trying to share something emotional.
There’s been a lot of crying lately. That there was cause, I wish were different. We can debate the whole “balance of grief and joy” thing some other time, this isn’t the time for that. This is the time for tears and that’s what it should be.
I firmly believe that “Jesus wept” at the tomb of his friend Lazarus isn’t an isolated incident. I also don’t think Jesus’ tears were just for Lazarus. They were also for those he saw around him in such grief and pain.
I think Jesus wept frequently. I think that every time we hear a story about Jesus healing someone who’s broken, there were tears when they shared their story with him. And Jesus shared in that. It makes me sad that sharing isn’t included in the story we read. I can’t imagine why the author didn’t think we needed to hear the story which led to the miracle of healing. As it is, we might be inclined to think it was simply the magical power of Jesus that did it, not the power of love, compassion and grace, a power that’s in all of us. It is.
I think that every time we hear about Jesus going off by himself to pray, I think there were tears then, too, for all that he’d seen and shared. There was surely joy, also, the balance of those two things is life. So I think there were tears of joy as well as grief. Not just happiness, but joy, the deep, trusting, empowering joy that is in each of us.
But in the moments the tears came, I don’t think Jesus tried to stop them until they were done. And we each will know that time differently. Tears flow more readily for some than others. We’re all different. But, understand: it’s not weakness. It’s strength. It’s a physical sign of our love.
Too many people have said this to attribute it to one person, but you might have heard “grief is the price we pay for love.” Is it, though? That feels like a way to quantify and exchange something for another. And it’s not that. Grief is love.
True love goes on. It changes its shape, perhaps its feeling. But love is. That’s why sharing our tears, sharing our presence, our thoughts, our prayers - sharing our love - is so deeply important.
Love, in its many forms, connects us, and love, like tears, is ready to flow when we need to share it. When our love turns to grief, it’s the love of others that holds us and gives us strength. We are each on our own journey, but we are built to travel together.
I believe that God is that very love that is in us and connects us. However you know God, please know that God doesn’t control or manipulate us. God is love, the energy of life and creation, the light that is in all things and holds all thing together. The light is with us always, even in the moments that seem darkest. We can see it in each other. We can see it in our loss: the light changes, but it never goes out. Never.
That’s why we share tears. And share stories and experiences and laughter, too. It’s how we remember and heal and grow and live. Tears come when they do. So does laughter. Let them come. Let the love flow.