This coming Sunday is All Saints Day. For me it’s a special day because we remember those who have died in the church the previous year and then we invite all who are present to light candles in memory of loved ones. It’s an emotional time.
While my sermon is not yet ready for this coming Sunday, I’m thinking a lot about tears. In our readings we have two promises that God will remove or wipe away our tears (Isaiah 25 and Revelation 21), and the weeping of Jesus at the death of Lazarus. When I read these texts I automatically think of death, or more specifically the pain and grief that accompany the loss of a loved one. I also usually read these words with tears caught in my throat as I spiritually embrace this promise of the day that we will grieve no more.
But this week, as I’ve thought about tears, I’m realizing that my tears are really part of who I am. Would I want to give them up? I don’t think so…
I’m also thinking of the tears that do not accompany grief.
We have tears of joy. How many of you have laughed so hard that you cried?
We have the tears of frustration that come when we have so much pent up energy that the only release is through a good cry.
The tears that accompany the moving away of someone dear to us… and the tears that accompany broken relationships.
We have the tearful pride that we feel in the accomplishments of others (especially our children and other loved ones). My now adult children can tell you of many times that my emotions seemed a bit over the top at the experience of a special time in their lives.
Sometimes that tearful pride, or welling of emotion can happen with someone that we don’t even know. That happened for me this morning (as an aside, I often get to live the sermon that is percolating through my mind). Anyway, this morning I read a story about one of the runners chosen for the cover of Running World magazine. This runner doesn’t look like the stereotypical runner…as in not really thin. In fact she is still, from a BMI perspective, over weight. Hers is a story of one day contemplating suicide and realizing that she really did have much to live for. It is a story of hard work, determination, community, and faith. You really should read it here:
And we have the tears that accompany our own accomplishments.
I too am someone who, while active most of my life, has had a constant battle with my weight. I took up running a few years ago to lose weight and subsequently discovered that the benefits of running are so much more awesome than just weight loss. And sometimes, while on a particularly hard run or passing a previously insurmountable milestone, I’ve felt myself choke up with tears of joy at what I’ve been able to do and experience while out on the roads. I’m sure to the observer on these occasions I looked like I was suffering but not even close.
What about you? What tears do you look forward to having God wipe away? What other kinds of tears have you experienced?