Chills form on my forearm as I lean on the door throwing kisses to H and Harrison seated in the car. The cold wind whips underneath the garage door as it makes a slow descent, marking the start of a new day. Turning around to silence, I pick up my cup of tea steaming on the kitchen counter and sit down at my desk to read the Psalms with a blanket over my knees. And I wipe away the tears streaming down my face.
I don’t remember a day in 2012 that I didn’t cry after my family left the house to begin their day.
After four decades of walking with Christ, my idealistic view of the faithful shattered in the duplicitous actions of leaders I’d grown to love. It took a year of wrestling with the words of David to heal. He put meaning to my grief, forming sentences from the heap of hollow holiness strewn on the doorstep of my faith. His laments, they helped me to find hope again.
Last week, as I sat in a conference space listening to Emily Freeman say listen to your tears, I realized that there are an entirely different kind of tears I hadn’t given a second thought.
Unlike tears of sorrow, she spoke of tears that come from a place deep inside, where the heart sings. And now, instead of trying to gather myself during a sermon or wipe off the mascara before it leaves black streaks on my cheeks in a movie theater, I’m paying attention.
“It’s not enough to say a story moved you but think about what it was about that story that moved you. That is a hint to where you are most fully alive. They are not just tears, they are tiny messengers sent to tell you, here is where your heart beats strong, a hint to your design, your image bearing identity.” ~Emily Freeman
Days before I listened to Emily, I sat in my pajamas scrolling through the ethereal photos on the website of a gifted photographer, piling up wads of wet tissue on my desk feeling ridiculous. On another day, I used my bed sheet to wipe my face while watching a documentary on a man of faith, living joyful without the use of his legs. It’s not uncommon for me to cry while witnessing a firefighter or policeman do his/her job.
Tears, that’s probably why I’ve watched The Holiday repeatedly. If you’ve seen it, you know Cameron Diaz’ character cannot cry for years until she experiences true love.
And I realized that redemption, it moves me to tears. Watching someone live it out is an act of worship. It’s how I know when I’m most fully alive. Because every time I see redemption present in someone else, it’s a reminder of the gift in my own life. The beauty of redemption, it makes my heart sing.
This year I’m smiling my way through the Psalms and laughing about the pile of tissues on my lap.
I’m just wondering, have you thought about your tears as tiny messengers giving you hints to the way God made you to bear His image?