All Your Tears

“What is it like, such intensity of pain?”
Rilke

old man on station platform

Quiet friend,

Your eyes give you away, the way they fall when they meet mine.

Perhaps something we all have in common is that we suffer… and that we love.

Going to Church is not about being perfect. We hear it all the time but why can’t we understand it? As the saying goes, “The church is a hospital for sinners”. I once heard of a church that had a sign above its door that read “Sinners Only”. The Church is a mother, a sanctuary. In medieval times a criminal (or anyone) could go into a church and claim sanctuary and the law could not arrest him.

Sinner doesn’t equal bad person. Sinner equals wounded person.

We are all wounded. Deeply. I know this. You know this. I feel a pain, hidden beneath layers of suppression and denial. It wants to come up, like a balloon trapped beneath the waves and really, it is impossible for me to keep it down. And so it comes up as anger, anxiety, guilt, fear, irritation and judgement.

A good friend of mine explained this wound to me well:
It is passed on from one person to another. A wounded parent will wound her child. A wounded man will wound his wife. The only way to stop the cycle is to feel the pain. To embrace the suffering and pass through it. But so often we can’t or don’t want to out of fear or pride. And so we turn to Jesus, because despite our woundedness, He loves and accepts us all. Jesus was wounded. He was wounded by His friends who abandoned, betrayed and denied Him, His countrymen who called for His execution and by the government who tortured Him, mentally, emotionally and physically. The difference with Jesus is that He didn’t pass it on. He took it all on Himself and died with it. And when He rose, it was no more.

How beautiful a thought, a life without suffering. Isn’t that what we all yearn for? This is why we build houses to shield us from the elements. We invent medicines to help us recover and bare the pain of illness. We sleep in soft beds and heat our houses. We try to live as long as possible by taking vitamins and exercising and dieting and yet… and yet… and yet…
We still suffer.

Because our wound is deeper than our immediate reality. It is a metaphysical wound.
Our souls are wounded, our deepest being. It is only in acknowledging this that we begin to heal.

One of the Gospel stories that I find particularly beautiful is in Luke, Chapter 7. Jesus was invited to dine at the home of a Pharisee. While he is there a woman “who was living an immoral life” came in and knelt at Jesus’ feet and kissed them. She wept, her tears falling on his feet and using her hair, she wiped them away.

This woman acknowledged her brokenness before God. She didn’t say a word, she just quietly cried at the Lord’s feet. And then Jesus says to her, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

That is the Gospel message.

This is why tears are healing. Because they only come when we embrace our brokenness, and in embracing our brokenness, we find God.

Spider web

He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.
Revelations 21 verse 4

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