Jesus Wept

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Do you cry?  Why?  What makes your eyes water?  What makes your sight blur, your heart ache, your soul weep?

Do you weep?

This is a big question for me… for the very simple reason that I, Kelsey Davies, avoid crying at all times.

I take pride in the fact that sad movies do not move me.  I stand tall in circumstances that might make others fall to their knees.  I practice daily my poker face skills and my ability to compartmentalize anguish and sorrow.  Tears do not become me.

Or so I tell myself.

Recently, I’ve come to the understanding that I’ve been lying to myself all this time.  My lies have made me strong, yes, in moments of adversity and hardship.  But I’ve realized that tears are beautiful.  They’re little glistening reminders of feelings, little droplets of empathy, little water warriors against the great foe Apathy.  Tears remind me that I am human, that I am broken, that the world is broken.

I have had two quotes float through my mind quite a lot this week, words stated so simply and profoundly that I just can’t quite shake them.  The first comes from Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: “Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living”.  The second comes from Josh Garrels’ song “Farther Along”: “The good man died, the bad man thrives and Jesus cries because he loves them both”.

I can’t quite put words to how these two quotes make me feel.  Sad doesn’t quite capture the profoundness of it; heavy doesn’t quite capture the weight of it; depressed doesn’t quite capture the energy of it.

The simple explanation for this?  It’s not just me feeling this way.  There is something deeper in my gut that understands this inward groaning of my soul and feels it too.  As Rubem Alves puts it: “If we are to believe Paul, the Holy Spirit abides in depths too deep for words.”  The Holy Spirit dwells deep inside me, hovering over the waters of my soul.  She understands my feelings that no words can express because those feelings are her feelings too.  Roman 8:26: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (emphasis mine).  Groan: a moan so full of feeling and meaning that no word can fully describe it.  The Spirit groans!  God recognizes that some feelings are too profound for conventional dialogue.  And the truth of the matter is: even Jesus wept.  That means that the Holy Trinity—our Lord, Life and Love—feels the pain of the world,understands the groaning of our unsatisfied hearts, and cries because of it.

Sometimes, crying is the only way to express those deep feelings, those wordless groans, those aches of yearning for wholeness. And when we cry, we are not alone.  Thank the Lord, we are not alone.

So today, cry a little.

Embrace that pain and yearning that are buried deep.  Open those doors to your heart and feel.

  1. I’m the opposite — I cry all the time at just about everything, particularly about good things, or touching things, not just sad things. I particularly cry at children’s movies and at church. I’ve never worried whether it makes me weak. It used to make me embarrassed, but not for a long time. Life is too much, too much good, too much sad, too much pain for me to worry about how tears make me seem: they make me feel human and are a symbol of my connection to other people, to the world, to the Spirit.

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