The sun called today. He asked if I wanted to come out to play. “Of course,” I said, “You’ve been away so long I thought you were never coming back. I would love to get together, I’ll meet you at the lake.”
He was waiting for me when I arrived. His smile was dazzling and reflected off the water like diamonds. It drew me down the trail where the usually dry creek beds were full and giggling. It seemed as if everyone had been invited to the party. A blue bird, flitted along beside me from tree to tree, as if he was my hiking buddy. Soon he was off in a different direction and I waved goodbye. Then the breeze whispered like it had a big secret, “January has gone on holiday…enjoy it while you can.”
I came upon a newly installed bench and decided to have church. I took in the fresh air, the breath of God. I listened to the birds, the song of God. I felt the wind, the power of God. But today, it was the gurgling water that was loudest, the voice of God. I heard the joy of his heart. The laughter awoke the sun, who was the one who called my name.
I almost didn’t heed the summons. I had much to do on this day, but taking time to go play was irresistible in the end. I put down my have-tos, and struck out on the want- to path. My soul sat and basked in the peace. I let it envelope me like a hug.
After my worship service, I moved further along the trail and heard a family approaching. The child fell and tears followed. Loud and powerful. They echoed across the water. I watched the child get up and run to the father, screaming the whole way. The father picked the child up, comforted and wiped tears away. Hugged and held. Looked the child over, said, “You are okay.” That was that.
It got me wondering, as these things do. When it is that we lose the ability to show our tears? At what point do we learn it is “inappropriate” to cry, except when we are alone? I watched a football player’s ankle snap like a twig. I watched him beat the ground in pain, and then wipe his tears as best he could while they wheeled him away. Trying to hold it together. If ever there was an appropriate time to cry, that was it!
Our society has taught us somewhere between childhood and adulthood that hiding feelings and pain is better than showing them. The current epidemic of suicides is evidence of the extremity of what happens when a culture does not acknowledge tears. Yet, the child along my walk had a lesson to teach. Scream it out and let the Father hear those tears. Skinned knees or broken hearts, no matter. He comforts, and lets the waterworks flow until they run out. Then he looks over the painful area and declares, “You are okay.” The key to the whole story is what happens next, the child believed him, got up, and went to play.
As adults, we don’t take our tears to him. We cry in the dark. He could comfort and heal us, but we have to take off the masks. To become like a child means we go to him for confirmation that we are okay. Then we believe his word to us and act accordingly…like a child.
At the beginning of the year I typically fast. It can be TV, food, technology, any number of things. A reboot of sorts. Fasting is my way of going to the Father for confirmation that I am okay. Sometimes he says so, and other times he says, “There’s some stuff here I need to work on, my daughter.” It is my way to surrender to whatever it is he is trying to heal in me. I set aside time to be silent and listen. Today his voice was the laughter of many waters, and the smile of the sun. Today, the joy of a vacation from winter was the strength in my legs, and the breath in my lungs. Today he said, “You are okay.” Now to believe him and walk in it.