The Gift of Tears
Sunday evening I texted my son in college:
“Today was my last Sunday at work – wept all the way through communion.”
His response: “It’s good to cry, right? It means you care about them.”
“Yes, O Wise One,” I texted back.
Since written media doesn’t capture intonation – I hope he heard that my response was praise and admiration – really joy that a 20 year old young man in this culture could respond with such emotional intelligence. And of course, there was the sin of pride creeping in -- that we had taught him well.
Dr. William Pollack in his book Real Boys says that boys that don’t cry tears cry bullets. Beneath anger, sometimes way down deep is grief. I recall a conversation with a man I dated for a while; he was an actor and Puerto Rican and would get passed over for parts because of his ethnicity. We had this anger/grief conversation – actually, if I recall it was more of an argument, but months later he said to me, “You know, you’re right, it really hurts.”
We live in a society that expects us to buck up, to move on, and to get over it. But here’s the thing, the way to “get over it” is to enter into it and then be carried in this case, on the waters, to a new place. That’s the heart of our faith – cross, resurrection.
One of the women in the church I’m going to put it this way about her own move from Chicago to Duluth years ago: “I cried on my back stoop every single night. It was important to grieve; my heart was so full of love for people I had shared life with for over 15 years. I ached at the thought of not partaking in daily/weekly/monthly gatherings. When we pulled away from a home and city I had earnestly loved and known, all those tears enabled me to move forward full of excitement about our new chapter. No regrets. Then when I got in the car to come to Duluth, I was ready.”
I suppose I could have tried (and failed) to cry my tears on my back porch, but as one of the ancient masters of the spiritual tradition, Geoffroy de Vendôme, wrote: “Words do not always manage to completely express a thought. Tears always allow us to see the full affection of a soul.”
So my sisters and brothers of the Way, I hope you saw the full affection of my soul for you. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that we should not fill the hole in our heart that loved ones have left for it is a sign – a remembrance of that love. In turns out, I have a very holey heart! But also, I hope a holy heart through which the love of God shines through and is felt among you.
Fare thee well.
- Pastor Dianne