When All I Can Do Is Cry…
by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Sometimes I just want to cry. So many dear ones are battling life-threatening illness, family crises, injustice, financial obstacles and deep loss that it’s not a stretch at all to live these words — “WEEP with those who weep.” (Romans 12.15)
And then there are the news stories that break your heart. Atrocities, war and deprivation far and wide amongst people God created and loves. I hardly know how to process such sorrow for those unknown to me who suffer so desperately.
I know you feel it too. Everyone’s life is touched by tragedy at some time or another. But why does it feel much more frequent these days? And what can we do? Besides cry…
My dear friend Carole just lost her husband of 55 years. Since she lives 1000+ miles away, I have to be creative in figuring out how to share her sorrow and lift her up at this time. The same is true for dear friends on the West Coast and in the South who are currently undergoing grueling treatment for cancer and having their lives measured out in months… I read their brave words online and stand in awe of the courage and honesty with which they face each day.
I weep with them and for them. But surely I could do more? Is my lament on their behalf enough of an offering to the Lord? Do you ever wonder these things? Even though I wire flowers and write almost weekly cards and notes, or send memorial gifts, I still feel so inadequate.
Sometimes all I can do is cry. But did you know that saints of old viewed crying as a grace or a gift to be offered to one in pain or grief? And when I cry I am entering into an ancient Christian tradition called the charism of tears.
“What did you say?” asked her father.
“Nothing,” she replied. “I just climbed up on her lap and cried with her.”
We are called to share our hurts and sorrows with one another.*
“If you and I are to know one another in a deep way, we must not only share our hurts, anger, and disappointments with each other (which we often do), we must also lament them together before the God who hears and is moved by our tears. Only then does our sharing become truly redemptive in character. The degree to which I am willing to enter into the suffering of another person reveals the level of my commitment and love for them. If I am not interested in your hurts, I am not really interested in you.” (Michael Card in “A Sacred Sorrow”)
Everyone knows someone who is crying today. Who do you know facing grief, loneliness, despair, illness, or abandonment? Will you do something to reach out to them? If you can’t literally show up and ‘weep with those who weep,’ here are some other ways to reach out:
- pray for them
- make a brief phone call
- arrange to clean their house or mow their lawn
- mail a thinking-of-you card or postcard
- drop off flowers from your garden (or market)
- take over a *“teaparty in a basket” and then visit over tea and treats. (Teaparty in a Basket – keep packed for such occasions: 2 teacups/saucers, a small teapot, several bags of black and caffeine free tea, dainty napkins, package of shortbread cookies/treats and small tray. All you have to do at your friend’s house is heat water. Just be there and listen.)*
Weep. Pray. Reach out.
“Dear Man of Sorrows, so acquainted with grief, Help me not to recoil from Your wounds, not to fear touching them or to be touched by them. Help me to understand that in my suffering I am not only nearest to You, but nearest to becoming like You… Thank You for being in the midst of these sorrows, transforming them into blessings and filling them with meaning. Amen.” – Ken Gire
under the mercy, Cindy
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*selections from “Live These Words” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell ©2014 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
©2014 Lucinda Secrest McDowell