In my last post, I mentioned that I cry a lot at the minute. Not every day, but most. It ranges from the stoic kind of crying, with a single tear rolling down my cheek to the violent, shaking, uncontrollable, snotty blubbering kind. I resonate a little with the Psalmist who wrote ‘My tears have been my food day and night’ (Ps 42:3).
When I wrote about it in the last post, it was to say that I’m learning to be ok showing weakness and vulnerability publicly. This time I want to write about it for a different reason: I’ve experienced the power of others crying with me.
Being wept with
So what do I mean by others crying with me? Well, I mean exactly that. There have been lots of people who have been moved to tears because of the situation in my life at the minute.
The first communication I had from my pastor back three months ago said simply ‘I love you. Standing with you. Weeping with you.’
When my fellow elders at Gold Hill were made aware of the situation, I asked one of them how it had gone. He told me ‘People’s hearts broke for you, and a number were moved to tears.’
A friend told me when he first saw me how affected he’d been, that he’d been unable to stop crying, and for the first time had been praying for Jesus to come back because he wanted this to end for me.
When I went to my small group and shared with them, there were lots of tears. I will never forget that evening.
In so many conversations with people when I phoned them to tell them what was happening, I heard raw pain in their voices, their speech cracking as they tried to compose themselves. I’ve seen pain and tears in the eyes of so many.
The power of tears
Why do I share all that? Simply to say that it has been one of the most powerful experiences of my life to have others weep with me and for me in the last few months. I have valued so much the words people have spoken and wisdom they’ve shared, but the tears they’ve shed have meant every bit as much.
The verse that I’ve thought of many times is in Romans 12 where Paul urges believers to ‘weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn’. I wrote about that on here once before. In that post, I spoke of how God was challenging me to be someone who allows myself to feel the pain of others and be moved in their situations. Now I’ve experienced it from the other side, and it means so much.
People’s tears for me have expressed what words could not. Love for me, grief for my situation. People have allowed themselves to feel my pain, not just to observe it. They’ve stood with me in solidarity. They’ve shown very powerfully that we are family, that we are part of one body, one unit. And when one part suffers, it all suffer.
The tears of others have been a constant statement that I am not alone, that others have opened their hearts up to me so much that they choose to feel what I’m feeling even when that’s painful for them.
And it’s that act of choosing to enter my situation that is so powerful. People could choose to say ‘We care about you and we will help however we can’ but not feel pain themselves. They could keep at arm’s length, remain detached. It would hurt them an awful lot less. Their hearts would be protected.
And their support would mean so much less to me.
The many people who have entered my pain have embodied Jesus, who entered our world, our pain, our whole life, who walked our path. He could have remained detached, but He chose not to.
And it’s not just the pain where I have known that solidarity. The people who I know I can cry in front of, cry with, text or call when it’s all too much and I need a chat or a hug or a meal are the very same people who I laugh with most fully. They have chosen to be with me where I am, whether that is easy and joyful or hard and painful.
If that’s you in my life, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I pray I can grow to embody Jesus more in this way, too.