Tears. Aren’t they funny little things? We don’t feel them inside until they well up in our eyes, ready to roll single file down our cheeks. We don’t even realize they are in us until they come pouring out.
Tears never ask permission. They think independently. Some travel alone; some travel in buckets. A single tear may amble down the cheek or a hundred tears may seem to race for the prize awarded to the first one to reach the chin. Regardless the number or the speed, tears do their own roll call. Sometimes at the least expected moment.
Often, we can anticipate tears. Weddings and funerals obviously warrant carrying a tissue or two, just in case. I even keep a couple of kleenex neatly folded in the back of my Bible for moments of Spirit-induced conviction. If you happen to be sitting next to me, I’d be happy to share one with you, but tissue boxes don the pews throughout our church, just in case you’re not sitting next to someone like me who carries an emergency supply.
Tears can occasionally be hidden from public display. But another enigma they possess is the ability to affect other features of the human face. Even though no one may see me cry, the evidence shows on my face for quite a while afterwards. The sniffles, the breathy hiccups, the red puffy eyes, the runny nose, and, usually, the redness on my upper lip give me away instantly!
Tears also affect those around us. Have you ever noticed someone crying? What do you do? Well, the first thing I tend to do is pretend I don’t notice until I’ve adequately evaluated the situation. I’m guilty of those quick, hopefully inconspicuous, and repeated glances to decipher the circumstances before I get involved. My mind races through all possible reactions before settling on one. Should I talk to the friend with the telltale red eyes as though nothing is wrong? Should I throw my arms around my weepy acquaintance and become emotionally involved with her? And, if the crier is a man, should I just walk on by without acknowledging he has given in to any tender show of emotion? (While we are on that topic, may I express my appreciation to any man with a heart that can be touched to the point of tears. God gave tears to everyone.)
Perhaps the most quirky characteristic of tears is that they can show up for almost any occasion.
I cried today. Twice.
I rarely cry. So when I cried twice today, I knew it was blog-worthy!
Yesterday, I lost a bracelet, a bracelet given to me only two months ago at one of the most precious moments of my life. My son-in-law and daughter have graciously allowed me to witness the birth of both of their children. I won’t even bother trying to describe what that does to my heart because I simply can’t. This second time, my daughter was giving birth to her daughter. Ok. So I was already an emotional basket case. Then, just a few minutes after sweet Harper was born, my son-in-law opened a tiny box. From it, he drew three bracelets: a teeny one for baby girl, one for mommy, and one for me, Mimi! Oh, my!
Tears! Sweet sweet tears. “I’m so blessed” type of tears.
Yesterday, more tears. I lost the bracelet while I was at work. Sad, utterly heartbroken tears.
Today, tears! I received a call that the bracelet had been found! Thankful, thankful tears!
Then, later today, tears! (Time to take stock in tissues, folks!) In glancing through my Facebook, I found a note from a student who graduated several years ago, telling me she missed me. Since the waterworks had already been turned on today, there they came again. More tears! All mixed up tears! They came in gratitude for the opportunity I had to teach for so many many years. They came from nostalgia. They came from missing those days. They poured with joy that I’d touched a precious life.
Tears. Tissues. They go together. At least for me. For someone who doesn’t often cry, I’ve had a workout today.
As I ponder these mysterious little wet capsules that have shown up today, I’m reminded of a verse that’s been special to me. Psalm 56:8 “Thou tellest my wandering: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?”
God made tears. God sees my tears. He keeps a record of each one I shed and even those I keep gated in my heart and eyes. And He cares. My tears are special to God!
He knows whether my tears result from laughing too much or hurting too much. Each one matters to Him.
Years ago, I decorated a beautiful perfume bottle and marked it in gold script, “Tears.” I had it for quite a while before I passed it on to a friend who’d recently shed many tears herself. I’ve recently wanted to decorate another one for myself as a visible reminder that Jesus cares. He cares deeply for every tear-evoking event in my life. He understands each one. He cares because He loves me.
My bottle may be large or small, plain or fancy, partially-full or brimming. I don’t care. It only matters to me that it matters to Him.
I’m so grateful. So very grateful!
I need another tissue!!