What has been the catalyst of your overflowing tears? As you reflect, was it a physical or emotional pain? Or was it laughter? Sometimes laughter releases more tears than pain.
Shannon Falls is just outside Squamish. It reminds me of flowing tears. There have been times in my life where tears just seemed to flow uncontrollably. Interestingly, for me it was less about physical pain than emotional. Death, hurt, regret, loss; these internal things seem to most often moisten my cheeks. But for some it is unquenchable joy. Though I have friends who regularly laugh so hard they are unable to control the flow of tears, I tend to be much less sanguine.
My father passed away in 2020, unrelated to COVID-19. To me it seemed sudden, following a short illness, but in hindsight, I believe he had battled cancer for quite some time. He played his cards close to his chest. Perhaps he didn’t want to worry us. Perhaps he didn’t want to acknowledge his own mortality. Who of us do?
It was during this time of imminent passage, much like when he suffered from a heart episode ten years earlier, that my tears flowed uncontrollably. I know he knew I loved and would miss him. I knew he loved Jesus and was ready to meet him. There were no unresolved issues, so it wasn’t cerebral. It was cardio-respiratory. My heart wouldn’t stop pounding, and I couldn’t catch my breath. There have only been a few cardio-respiratory moments in my life. My fathers mortality and the moment of recognition at the chasmal depth of my own imperfection in relation to Christ’s perfection. I fell to the ground and wept.
Since writing Don’t Tell, I’ve enjoyed comparing a various translations of scripture to find a new perspective. Psalm 56:8 reflects on tears. I’m intrigued that God collects, and keeps track of my tears. There is great comfort in this. He knows. He cares. Even for the unspilled childhood tears. The tears that fear held in place.
You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book. (MSG)
You have taken note of my journey through life, caught each of my tears in Your bottle. But God, are they not also blots on Your book? (VOICE)
You have seen how many places I have gone. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? (NLV)
Each of these renditions moves me differently. The meticulous recording of the struggle; the tossing and turning, the heart ache, tells me no detail is too small. The active catching of tears suggests a deliberate engagement. Each tear is important and recorded. But why? Will we one day commiserate over them? Will he explain their importance, the lessons? Will he reveal the bottle with his tears for the humanity he created? Oh how considerable that bottle must be.
Jesus cares. He suffered so much as human on earth so that he could truly understand my grief, my humanity. He shed the tears of emotional pain, tears of physical pain, and the tears of separation from his Father. I”m sure there were also some tears of joy mingled in. Jesus knows you more than you could ever imagine. He sits with you in your sorrow, collecting every tear.