Tears in a Bottle
I cry. A lot. I always have. Not because I am a whiny baby. I cry when I am happy. I cry when I am sad. I cry when I am mad. I cry when I am moved. I cry when I sing. I cry when I speak. I cry when I pray… in public and in the quiet places of my heart.
Psalm 56:8 You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?
God knows why I shed every tear. It is a language that he created with a purpose.
Scientist have hypothesized about why we cry, what our tears contain, and the different types of crying. Real heart tears (not the fake manipulative ones) contain a multitude of impurities. Create in me a clean heart oh God, is often my prayer. I figure, I either have a really clean heart, because it is constantly being purged, or the tears are God’s way of cleaning up that dirty mess down in my heart.
I don’t always have the right words to say to a hurting friend, but if I look at them in their state of pain, my eyes immediately well up with tears. It shows compassion and empathy from my heart without having to awkwardly tell them everything will be okay, or I know how you feel, or some other platitude.
Pavlov’s dogs have nothing on me when it comes to a trained response… maybe. My friends won’t even look at me during worship time. They know to do so will start their water works by seeing mine. My 5th graders loved our Friday morning worship times. I would lead from the back of the classroom. Hearing children lift their voices in praise, I would, of course, have liquid worship running down my face; the kids would turn to look at me, and upon seeing the tears, declare success.
When my husband gave me my first harp on Christmas morning, the tears of gratitude poured out of me. When my daughter paid for my trip to see my childhood best friend recovering from heart surgery, I had no words, but my tears spoke volumes.
Some of the most meaningful tears have come as loved ones pass from this life to Glory. Not really because I am sad, although I do miss them, but the indescribable emotion I feel, picturing them in the presence of Jesus, is overwhelming. I recently read the eulogy at friend’s memorial. I read the facts of her life just fine, but when I read the final line about her meeting Jesus at sunrise on a beautiful May morning, the tears broke through like the sun breaking through the clouds.
In college, I spent a summer with a traveling music team from my Christian college. I cooked; I was not one of the musicians. I attended most of the concerts with them, some in churches, some in very large venues. Every. Single. Time. I would be a teary mess by the time the concert was done. I told one of my stoic singing friends that I was praying God would take the tears away, maybe it was my thorn in my flesh. She rightly chastised me and said that my tears were a gift from the Lord, it showed my tender heart, and I should never ask Him to take that away again. I never have.
I have jokingly said, “When I get to heaven, I will know which house is mine, because the angels will be singing ‘A Hundred Bottles of Tears on the Wall’.” After all, the God who created tears also created laughter.