I remember the first year of our son’s passing. How I vacillated between feeling numb, wooden, dry-eyed, to days when all I could do was cry. So many times I never knew what I might do. I had never been someone who normally cried in front of people, and yet I found myself doing just that. But then, fresh in my grief, nothing was normal. I was on new ground, I had never traveled before, and if there were rules of conduct somewhere, I could not find them. There are no schools to equip you for gut-searing grief.
Tears were for me at times embarrassing. Like being in a public place, or out with friends. And with no forethought, bursting into tears triggered by some memory perhaps. Touching in me some hidden area of this new sorrow. And what was the response of those around me? Almost always it was one of tender concern. And yet, it was very uncomfortable. I felt I needed to apologize.
Why do we cling to the facade that others must see us as strong, even stoic? That somehow we must not reveal breaking hearts or our brokenness? What was I afraid of ? Exposing my humanness? My vulnerability? This grief thing was way beyond my control. It stripped me of pride.
The human eye designed by God does more than just see; it cries. We shed tears when sad, or even in times of elation. Emotions stimulate our tear ducts to flow tears down our cheeks, expressing at times what cannot be said verbally.
Why would we feel the need to even apologize? For when we allow others to see our raw hurt we begin the process of healing.
When the rain falls to the earth, sometimes so heavy that visibility is obscured. We wait for it to clear. And when it does, the air seems fresher, clear as glass with even a rainbow in the distance.
And so with our tears. We lament, we sorrow, and we wait for the healing that eventually will come and enable us to see with greater compassion the grief of others.