I cried the other night and, well, it stunned me.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not against crying. It’s just that I hadn’t cried in so long I was afraid something was wrong – emotionally, of course – with my tear ducts. And my heart. I was a little concerned that I was becoming hardened to situations around me.
In all honesty, my heart that had once been pliable and tender seemed a bit toughened. And it worried me since I’d always considered that one of my best qualities.
It’s impossible for me to reveal where the tears originated or what spawned them. I do not know exactly. I have some ideas, but to credit one occurrence with the deluge of tears is not something I can do. It was really a mixture of numerous things including emotional exhaustion.
The tears scared me at first. Not that they were falling, mind you, but the fact that I was not just softly crying. I was wailing. Sometimes wailing to a point that I couldn’t get my breath. I cried so hard at one time that my head pounded as if my heart was beating there.
And maybe it was to get my attention.
The tears lasted for 30 minutes or so before subsiding to slow, hot trickles down my cheeks. I was somewhat dazed and confused after the incident, but felt as if I’d been walking on the treadmill at cardiac rehab for numerous hours. I was empty yet I, surprisingly, felt full.
I felt refreshed and revived. I didn’t have any more answers to some of the questions that I had prior to the outburst, but I had something more important than that. I had hope which is something I hadn’t felt in several months either. And it was a very cathartic experience. That’s a big word for a not-so-pretty event. To put it nicely, it was a cleansing experience for me.
Still thinking about the event today, though, I began looking for references in the Bible for tears. Using an Internet search engine (because I’m told “Googling” isn’t a verb), I found, instead, another blog that helped make a little more sense of my experience. In “Radical Living in a Comfortable World,” blogger Seth Barnes quoted a report by Mary Beth Swan:
The Bible (Strong’s Concordance) provides 697 references for verses associated with crying (weep, cry, tears).
One of the first Bible references for tears is in the book of Genesis when Abraham wept over the death of Sarah. Hannah wept before the Lord in her barren state. Esau wept over his father Isaac, asking for a blessing. King David writes prolifically in the Psalms of his tears before the Lord, even saying they were his portion day and night.
The Bible provides accounts of tears of grief (as above, also David weeping over the death of Absolom, Jairus’s daughter and the death of Jesus Christ). Others wept tears of repentance and sin-sorrow (Israel as they stood to hear the scriptures read and were broken over not following the Lord their God and His law, David as Nathan confronts him, Ninevah when Jonah finally goes there to pronounce God’s judgment, Peter after the rooster crowed for the third time). Jeremiah was called the Weeping Prophet, authoring the book of Jeremiah and the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Jeremiah wept for the pride of Judah. Israel cried to God in affliction. Professional mourners attended the deaths in New Testament times. Jairus’s daughter’s death may have been one instance of this. The commentaries vary.
God is called “Comforter” (Jeremiah, for example) and the God of all comfort. God’s law and His love are described as comfort-givers. The body of believers is called to comfort, also. II Corinthians 1:3-5. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ.”
Now that it seems I’ve had a breakthrough of sorts, I’m ready once again to be a comfort to those around me again. Maybe the tears were also a rejuvenation of sorts for me to gain strength to return to the tasks at hand. Tears are like medicine and wash the weary heart and soul.
I’m now claiming Luke 6:21 where Jesus says, “Blessed are ye that weep now; for ye shall laugh.” i’m ready for 45 minutes of rib hurting laughter. I’m certain that will be medicinal as well.