“…behold our cheeks
How they are stain’d, like meadows yet not dry,
With miry slime left on them by a flood.” (Shakespeare)
I’ve been confronted with a lot of tears recently. Overflowing wells of pain. Sorrowful streams of remorse. Oozing cracks in failing emotional dams. Liquid grief. Fluid fear.
Each tear encapsulates a story:
– of a teen girl enticed by hollow words to compromise her values: tears of grief for stained purity and strained relationships, of remorse and repentance, of relief in forgiveness and love.
– of a mother’s heart sodden sore and bulging heavy with tears that numbness will not release.
– of a man floundering in the shattered ruins of wrong choices; tears of shame, of sorrow, of loneliness…. and of confusion in a life-mess so tangled with no simple way out of ever-compounding consequences.
– of a teen boy faced with a possible diagnosis of cancer; urgent, desperate tears riddled and rimmed with fear; tears of anger at himself for past choices so stupid, so short-sighted, so careless of the gift of life present in his boy-man body; tears that plead for a steadying hand of love on which to cling as fears choke and strangle.
– of my own; for the ever-present heart-hole; for broken shards of hopes and dreams; for so many others battered by life’s storms; for the pain of a sinful world so broken, so desperate, so arrogant, so in need of truth and healing.
– of Jesus… for a friend who temporarily succumbed to death.
And maybe that is precisely the perspective that is needed as tears flow like gushing rivers across the face of humanity… that all of this is only temporary.
There is a larger story here that both acknowledges the reality that life is fraught with tear-inducing moments, but it also looks beyond those moments to see a time when “He will wipe every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Tenderness and compassion enveloped in grace.