I wept today.
If you don’t know me well, that might surprise you. But, if you’ve known me long enough, that probably does NOT come as a big surprise. I’m a sensitive guy, and I’ve been known to cry easily, publicly.
But, honestly, I haven’t cried for a while. Why I haven’t been weeping doesn’t matter – at least not for this post. And, why I wept today doesn’t matter, either – at least not for this post. Maybe I will share one or both those stories in the future. Maybe not.
All I want to share today is that my tears were flowing freely, and I’m glad. I don’t enjoy crying. Sometimes, it leaves me with a headache (I feel one coming on now). But, undeniably, crying is cathartic. It feels like I released something today that’s been bottled-up inside of me for too long.
Psalm 56:8 says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
There was a practice in numerous ancient cultures, including Jewish, of collecting tears in small, hand-blown glass bottles. Apparently, some people were buried with their bottles, symbolizing the end of their earthly suffering. Whatever the purpose or meaning of the tradition was, it was believed that tears had spiritual meaning, and were worthy of being collected and saved.
As I read Psalm 56:8, it says to me that God notices my tears, cares about my tears, and considers my tears important enough to save and record. I love that.
The picture at the top of this blog is of a large earthenware jug, given to me by my dear friends, Trevor and Leah Johnston, when I officiated their wedding. For several years, we worked side-by-side in campus ministry, and they were intimately aware of my own tears and the many tears shed by others in my office or on my shoulder – including some of their’s. The gift is meant to symbolize the gathering and saving of all of those precious, precious tears. Since then, every time someone has cried in my office, I point to that big jug of tears, and tell them about Psalm 56:8.
I wept today, filling that jug a little bit more (at least symbolically).