Mostly, I've Been Nothing but Tears


Hi there, friends.

It seems I've been nothing but tears these last few days. Over the last few days, I've cried deep wrenching tears at least three times, maybe four. The kind of tears that wrench deep in your gut and bowl you over in half because it feels like your insides are splitting in two with the pain you feel.

Have you ever known those kind of tears?

Most of these tears stem from sorrows in the lives of those I know. Many close friends are walking right now through unimaginable and unbearable darknesses, and God is letting my own heart connect in some small measure with the pain they carry so that my entire being spills open in tears upon tears.

Even if my experience of that pain barely approximates the fullness of their own, it is enough to tell me that the pain they carry is magnificently terrible.

So I sit here in these tears and wonder what to do. Sometimes I feel like a friend of Job, sitting in the silence, passing the shards of pottery his way so that he can scrape at his sores in his grief because there's nothing else he can do to change his circumstances or take away the profound reality of his loss.

But I don't want to be like those friends of Job, those friends who eventually tried to tell him what to do or how to feel or how he could have made his situation different than it was. If there's one thing I'm learning in this shared sorrow God is giving me to experience, it's that there's nothing I can do. I feel utterly helpless, mute, and incompetent pretty much all of the time.

Each time, then, I am left begging God to do what only he can do. Each time, I plead with him to overcome my own humanity and failings so they receive only what is pure and not what is lacking in me. Each time, I beg him to come closer to them.

Tonight, as I was crying one of these soul-deep cries after a phone call with one of the dearest souls of my heart, Kirk gave me the gift of his presence in my incredibly burdened tears. He smoothed my hair and rubbed my back as I cried and cried and cried. Sometimes he said a few words, and sometimes he asked a question . . . but just his simple presence was all I needed most. The smoothing of my hair. The rubbing of my shoulder. The gentle feel of his hand on my back.

I didn't need words. I needed his presence and those quiet, small, but comforting gestures. They were so much more than enough. He, too, in this moment, was re-teaching me how to listen.

Tonight a friend shared the above video with me on Facebook. It's a song by David Crowder called "Shine," and it speaks the words of a prayer that asks God to come close and whisper and to shine inside a heart that is listening and yearning for what only that light of love can do: overcome.

The video itself tells a love story, and I love the Lite Brite creativity of it, but really it's the words and the melody of this song that rend my heart and meet me where I am. In this song, I find the words of my own prayer right now: that the light of the love of the only one who overcomes would shine from the depths of my heart, offering comfort and presence to those who mourn, especially to those I love.