We are created by God with the ability and urge to cry when our emotions move us, so shedding tears must be an important part of being a human being.
Emotional tears are a response which only humans are capable of, for only people can weep. All animals that live in air produce tears to lubricate their eyes but only people possess the ability to react to emotional and spiritual events with actual crying.
What is even more profound to me is that I have heard that the tears that come from grief have been scientifically tested and found to aid in the release of toxins from our body; toxins that come from the myriad of emotions we experience in our suffering or after a significant loss.
SO LET THE TEARS FLOW
Spiritually speaking, did you know that God sees your tears and actually keeps a record of them? They are as prayers to him - a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).
“I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears” (2 Kings 20:5).
"The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry" (Psalm 34:15)
In Scripture it says that they are listed in a book:
"The God of all comfort keeps watch over your weeping. He gathers up all your tears and puts them in his bottle. He records each one in his book" (Psalm 56:8).
Not only does He see them and keep a record of them, God promises to console us in the future for the tears we shed in this life (for right reasons) as we travel through this "valley of tears":
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
"For the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes" (Revelation 7:17).
And even though Jesus knows that in the end, God will right every wrong, He weeps with us in our suffering right now:
"When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled … Jesus wept" (John 11:33, 35).
This life is not paradise. We will experience seasons of suffering and hardship:
"A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance" (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
But if we intentionally allow Christ into our suffering, and patiently wait with trust in his love (Jesus, I trust in you!), we will eventually experience relief:
"For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).
“You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 116:8–9).
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him (Psalm 40:1-3).
I have experienced this consoling grace of God in my anguish over the death of my son:
WHY? WHY? WHY?
In 2016, I was having a rough week leading up to Mother's Day. Unfortunately, I was heading down into a dark place because I was focusing too much on the pain and confusion. I kept asking God "why?" all week and the more you ask "why" the harder it is to deal with the pain. Why did you let this happen? Why did you not let me know so I could help him? Why would you have allowed me to be so completely in the dark about what was actually going on in his life. I felt that God had not only abandoned me but even went so far as to allow me to be completely deceived into believing that my son was actually doing OK.
His death was a complete blindside! In no way did I see this coming. None of us did. It was so hard to process in light of the closeness of God and all the answered prayers that I had personally experienced over the last twenty years. I kept asking God over and over again: “Why would you let me know about things that seem so insignificant now and not let me know about something so monumentally important? I know I have many faults and am far from a perfect parent but why did you let me become complacent about things that were so dangerous? You had my total, undivided attention. I would have laid my life down for him.”
I ended up getting very angry at God & turning away from him for a few days and they were very hard days. Thank the Lord for his mercy and the people that continually lift us up in prayer! I am also thankful that God sends the right message at just the right time. Two examples:
1. The weekly lesson bible study lesson from Walking with Purpose touched my heart so much and made me cry - a healing cry:
"...A Mother - Her love can save her children from spiritual death."..."Persevere in loving the Lord and the lambs he has entrusted to you, and one day you will see the crown of glory that awaits you."
Reading that lifted me up and enabled me to begin to head back in the right direction toward God. I wasn’t able to save my son from physical death but I believe with all my heart that I will see him again because he is saved and with the Lord. I believe that because of our love for him and the many prayers & sacrifices that were made and continue to be made on his behalf; my constant struggle to live in fidelity to God's will; all of the waves of heartache & grief offered up for him now - he was at the moment of his death, able to open his heart completely to Jesus. I don’t know if he is heaven or purgatory so I continue to pray for his soul every day. I have made the “Heroic Act in Favor of the Souls in Purgatory” and each day I offer everything for them. I then ask them to pray for my other intentions, especially for all of my family & friends. I have seen many prayers answered by praying this way.
2. On Friday, May 6, I went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and confessed my anger. Immediately after that I attended Mass and I knew that God was speaking to directly to my heart through the Gospel: John 16:20-23. Especially the 2nd last sentence:
"Jesus said to his disciples: 'Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you."'
As soon as the words "On that day you will not question me about anything" were proclaimed, a profound peace descended into my heart and soul - into the deepest places where all of the questions were coming from. I knew that God was telling me that when I am in heaven and I see everything from that perspective, I will completely understand why He allowed this tragedy and I will bow my head and say "Amen".
Since that Mass this profound peace has not left me. The need to know the answer to all of my many questions is not there anymore. It might seem like a paradox, but I have peace in knowing that I won’t fully understand until I am in heaven and can see all from God's perspective. I even feel a strange joy because of the fact that I don't know the answers. I believe this is for at least two reasons:
1. Not knowing the answers gives me the opportunity to exercise the gift of supernatual Faith - believing without seeing or understanding in our Father's loving care for us. Making acts of Faith like this actually increases our capacity to love and trust him because we are humbling ourselves before his greatness and inscrutable, unsearchable ways while accepting our status as limited human beings. This opens our heart more fully and removes obstacles so that He can fill it with his peace and joy. From a human point of view it doesn't make sense to have peace and joy in this way but the peace and joy are real nonetheless.
2. The harder something is - the more I have to die to myself - the greater the gift I have in my possession to offer to God as intercessory prayer for others. I want so badly for every person to experience God's personal love for them. My zeal for this consumes me, so in a strange way, this "darkness" about Brett's tragic death - this not knowing why God allowed it - is a great gift because I can offer it up continually as a living sacrifice and I know God is continually using it as a channel of his grace to save and heal souls.
I know he is with me as I suffer and that he will bring a greater good out of this anguish and that makes all the difference in the world. My suffering has meaning and purpose.
I still cry many tears but they are not out of despair or confusion. They are a sign of my love. They release the pain of my shattered heart and, paradoxically, allow me to grow stronger. I am so thankful for the gift of tears.