grief

How Many Tears?

cryingDoes it take to fill an ocean? Does it take to forgive the unforgivable? To recover from cancer or a suicide scare? To grieve what will never be? To get over it?

How many tears before friends run out of Kleenexes and platitudes? Actually, I’ll take the tissues, but you can keep your platitudes. How many tears before the church gets flooded?

Just as there is no specified time limit on grief–so they say– I don’t think there should be a specified number of tears. I hope. I’ve spent nearly a year crying my way through Sunday services. Frankly, I’m tired of it. But every time I walk into church, my eyes begin to water.

I spent the first 6 or 7 months trying unsuccessfully to hide my tears. I alternated between fleeing to the restroom and hoping someone–anyone–would care enough to notice.

Then I went to a different church, but that’s a story for another post. When my eyes begin to well up, people I don’t even know surround me with their arms, prayers, and encouragement! It’s been healing.

People say I shouldn’t be embarrassed by my tears. But I am. Why? I’m not sure.

I thought I’d take a look at what God says about tears and crying. According to my trusty NIV Study Bible, there are 9 references to tear/s and 22 references to cry/cried. Twenty-seven is not a huge number; most of the cry/cried verses are talking about calling out to God for help in some situation as opposed to actual tears. But it’s enough to make me realize that God notices when my tears fall. He hears me when I cry, with or without actual words.

Nothing in Scripture seems to indicate that anyone’s tears will stop flowing before Heaven, so I should probably buy stock in Kleenex. John does promise in Revelation that Jesus Himself will wipe away our tears though. That’s a day I’m looking forward to!

In the interim, I’ll probably cry in church tomorrow. My friends may run out of tissues, and the church may overflow with tears, but that’s okay because the Savior hears my cries for healing, and the King of Kings will offer me something better than Kleenexes.

How many tears does it take? I think I should stop keeping track.