Tears, Loss, Joy
A song for the ascent to Jerusalem.1
When the LORD restored his exiles to Jerusalem,
it was like a dream!
We were filled with laughter,
and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
"What amazing things the LORD has done for them."
Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us!
Restore our fortunes, LORD,
as streams renew the desert.
Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest.
17Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. 19The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer[f] and bring me safely over the mountains.
"The younger son's return takes place in the very moment that he reclaims his sonship, even though he has lost all the dignity that belongs to it. In fact, it was the loss of everything that brought him to the bottom line of his identity. He hit the bedrock of his sonship. In retrospect, it seems that the prodigal had to lose everything to come into touch with the ground of his being. When he found himself desiring to be treated as one of the pigs, he realized that he was not a pig but a human being, a son of his father. This realization became the basis for his choice to live instead of to die. Once he had come again in touch with the truth of his sonship, he could hear--although faintly--the voice calling him the Beloved and feel--although distantly--the touch of blessing. This awareness of and confidence in his father's love, misty as it may have been, gave him the strength to claim for himself his sonship, even though that claim could not be based on any merit."
-Henri Nouwen on the Parable of the Prodigal Son
What do tears imply? Tears imply being overwhelmed at either extreme. One cries tears of joyful laughter or tears of sorrowful loss.. Focusing on loss--tears, the feeling of abject poverty in the spiritual life means gain. Gain? How does losing something mean gain? Maybe when we get too proud, too comfortable, too complacent, too dependent on our own resources, God's love is reflects from those tear drops. Why love? Why do tears reflect love? Love so impossible that it takes a marginalized, misfitted, rejected, broken man/woman and reminds this person of the absolute freedom in being loved. Tears from an infant reflect need--need for provisions, for embrace, and for necessities, and blessings. So long have tears and fears been avoided that I'm a pent up automatron, trying to stomach every pain. When everything comes collapsing... I fall in tears... on my knees... realizing that I missed the point. The point is love. Opportunity knocks. Tearful surrender is the opening of that door.
Joyful tears. "How sweet it is to be loved by you." That old pop song from back before I was born. It's like realizing how blessed, how undeserving, yet how appreciated I am.... How LOVED I AM! It is the appreciation of the other party in being able to think about me so deeply and love me so graciously that I am awestruck... tearfully laughing!