Yet so many of us were thoroughly steeped in the tradition of being strong, hearing that we either needed to "take it like a man", or that "big girls don't cry". That somehow our grief was wrong.
I can remember for years how I sublimated my pain and grief; how I only let it come out when I was reading a book or watching a movie. Then, while alone and reading, or in that dark movie theater, I would let myself vicariously experience the pain of someone else, and cry. That was my relief valve.
Through the years God has shown me the value of grieving, morning, and shedding tears. I've learned that it's an easier pain to just go with it for a time, to allow myself to feel the hurt. I've found that the pain will not consume me to such an extent that I will never be able to function again. That I can just let it out and receive God's comfort. I've experienced feeling through the pain to the other side when I can move on in life, past the pain.
Just recently, for a reason about which I am unclear, God is bringing me back to teaching about tears. As I'm studying the book Captivating by Stasi Eldridge with some friends, I've been reminded of a long ago favorite Bible passage from Psalm 56:8-10 (NLT):
8 You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
9 My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
This I know: God is on my side!
10 I praise God for what he has promised;
Yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.
I'm so grateful that we have a God who is moved by our sorrow, for whom we are so important that He who created the universe takes note of each tear. I adore this quote from St. Augustine in his Confessions:
"The tears...streamed down, and I let them flow as freely as they would, making them a pillow for my heart. On them it rested."
Grief, tears, expressions of mourning - they all are a form of validation. They say that the hurt mattered. I'm grateful to know that the hurts matter to God as well.
What's something God's taught you about tears?