I have read a couple of great blog posts from friends the last couple of days. Both spoke about the need to face our struggles and rely on God to help us. One friend jokingly said, “If only there were calories in tears.” I responded to her, “Tears take a different sort of weight off.” As I have thought about that today, I’ve realized that where I encourage others to have a good cry every now and then, I don’t really take my own advice.
Sometimes I feel that if I began to cry over some of the things my life has experienced I might never stop. It’s a strong woman image thing, and it’s very likely the cause of many a strong woman falling ill due to keeping it all inside. I’m not sure of all the ramifications of being “strong” that way, but I do know one thing about holding back the tears: eventually they turn into molten lava. The body churns, the mind thinks unlikely things, and anger takes over. And when you blow, you spew hateful and caustic words all over your victim. Who you were disappears behind bitterness and distrust.
If you are lucky, you’ll notice what you are doing and repent. If you don’t ever notice it, you will become a little old lady, walking down an empty hallway because folks saw you coming and decided to get out of your way so as not to become your next victim. Or you sit in your home alone, mad at a world that you feel has forgotten you, feeding on your bitterness and never realizing you are the reason no one comes to see you anymore. Sad.
I’ve often said I would like to find a nice quiet spot all by myself, where I could cry as loud and as long as I’d like without having to explain to anyone why I am crying. A place where no one would have to see me and wonder what’s wrong with me and want to help me. A place of knowing that the time to ask for help will come, but first the weight of long-checked tears must be lifted.
Once emptied of all that weight the soul finds room for the help of others. God finally has room to move around and make His repairs. It’s a long process, I imagine. We strong women didn’t get broke overnight, after all. We became strong to be something different than what our past (or present) dictates. We built our fortresses one “brick” at a time. We filled in all the gaps, determined to avoid letting whatever it was that hurt us in the first place ever hurt us again.
Then God spoke to us through His Word. Or He sent someone into our lives who recognized the “wall” and gently pushed against it and dared to climb that wall and reach over with their love. Just as likely, a moment happened that caused us to fall apart and our family intervened. Whatever the catalyst, God showed up, and healing began to take place.
The first realization of healing can cause a momentary relief and even a sort of euphoria. I have also found that healing isn’t often an immediate event. Although, one great side effect of the beginning of the healing process is hope, in that we realize we don’t have to continue in pain; there is a way out.
Unless it was an instant miracle, God is going to continue to “grow” us through the healing process. At times, we are going to want to push back behind our wall; after all, it’s safe there. No one knows what our hearts are shouting. We veil our eyes to hide the truth as we tell the world we are okay.
It’s embarrassing for a strong woman to cry in front of people about the pain of her life. It makes her feel weak. We don’t like that feeling. So we do whatever we have to do to avoid crying, even going so far as to lie to those who love us as we swallow the bitter pill over and over and continue to cement our hearts behind the wall.
Before I get a whole bunch of comments from my dear friends who know me well, let me say this–strong women do cry, sometimes a lot. We cry over sweet little babies, sappy movies, sad books. That is a totally different type of crying, and it doesn’t normally shame us to do that in front of people.
The kind of crying we don’t want you to see involves loud anguished sobs, wailing, screaming, groveling. For that, we will need a mountain top, a lone cabin, and several days.
Yes, crying is a great method for weight loss. It removes the burden from our hearts and takes a load off our minds. Please pray for us. When the moment comes that our faces crumble in grief and the wall comes down, just pray. And let us cry. Close the door very quietly on your way out; and if you would, please be waiting on the other side of that door when we open it. We’ll need those arms.