James Cook: Tears from God
On any given day, if not every day, our staff at Rowan Regional Medical Center will take care of someone who will shed tears of joy, sorrow, fear, anger or pain. Most days we will experience all of these. A child is born, a healthy baby arrives bringing tears of joy for the new parents, grandparents and even the delivery staff. A patient preparing for surgery is afraid of the unknown. A first-time patient hears the words, ěYou have cancer.î For another, the doctor says, ěI have good news; you are going to live through this, go home and live a productive life with your family and friends.î A young boy falls off his bicycle, needs 10 stitches and the tears fall. A co-worker and friend receives a phone call that her child has died in an accident. Another shares the joy of an engagement and upcoming marriage.
As I get older, I seem to be more easily affected by an emotional event that brings tears to my eyes. Can you relate? Is it because we have learned what is important in life? When we shed our tears we are releasing our deepest emotions that lie within our soul. I consider it holy to be in the presence of someone who is sharing at such a depth of expression.
We all have a day, sometimes even days, when we shed tears for ourselves, our family, friends, and even strangers. I have learned that it is important, healthy, and essential for us to cry. Many stages or mile stones in life bring tears to our eyes ó weddings, funerals, graduations, anniversaries, and birthdays to name a few. I love it when laughter brings tears.
Tears express our sorrows and joys in a unique way ó our bodyís way of expressing our deepest emotions. What wondrous creations, our bodies, our tears. Our tears are an outward means of sharing what may be deeply rooted in our hearts, minds and souls. Often we are able to ěreadî one another simply with a glance.
The shortest verse in the Bible, John 11:35, ěJesus wept,î comes to mind. Jesus heard that his friend, Lazarus, had died and Jesus cried for his friend. Remember the woman in Lukeís Gospel ó she washed Jesusí feet with her tears and her hair. She felt remorse for her sins, Jesus forgave her. Our tears of forgiveness and compassion can bring new life and purpose to those who share with us their tears of regret for past transgressions. Jesus knows what it is like to weep. He knows the gentleness of wiping tears away. Time will do what time does to all of us, soften our hearts and deepen our love for each other.
There will be moments in our lives when a loved one, a friend or a stranger comes to us, sharing their grief, their joy, and their tears with us. And you may ask yourself, ěWhat shall I say or do?î I recommend that you listen, be present in the moment and have a fresh box of Kleenex.
Life is a series of gifts received and given. Everyone needs a safe and sacred place to feel the care and support of their community. Tears are Godís gift to us for washing our wounded souls clear.
James Cook is chaplain at Rowan Regional Medical Center.