When is the last time you cried? I know that’s a personal question, so you don’t have to answer me. I also know you macho men don’t easily admit to tears and you would readily say we women cry too often. But, really, when is the last time you cried?
Some months ago, I sat at our breakfast table eating a bowl of Cheerios. I love Cheerios and as I enjoyed my breakfast, my mind flashed back to 2004 when my mother was visiting us.
We had kept our granddaughter Breann, then 1 year old, overnight and my mother, Breann and I were enjoying some breakfast. Breann’s high chair tray was laden with Cheerios and slices of banana. Breann began dropping her cereal on the floor, one Cheerio at a time. I gave the usual Grandma response of “no-no,” eliciting a smile from Breann each time I said it. After several “no-nos,” I tapped her hand and said, “no Cheerios on the floor.” Without missing a beat, Breann patted my hand that was resting on her tray. She looked me square in the eyes, smiled . . . and dropped another Cherrio unto the floor. My mother and I spent the next few minutes laughing until the tears ran down our cheeks.
As I sat at the table reflecting on this memory, happy tears filled my eyes at the thought of this humorous moment with Breann. To my surprise, my tears of laughter turned to warm tears of grief as I freshly mourned the loss of this precious little girl who seemed to leave us way too soon. Although eleven years have passed since her Homegoing, I still long to hold her, look into her beautiful brown eyes, stroke her soft cheeks and see that sweet smile that so often graced her face. I realized my grief, although usually under control, is sometimes just a memory and a tear away.
Although my tears can sometimes cause me embarrassment, I am also comforted by knowing God sees all our tears. In Psalm 56, during a time of captivity, David even asked God to record his sorrows and keep record of his tears, storing them in a bottle. Whether God has an actual scroll or bottle for our tears, He does remember all the things that happen in our lives. God is a tender-hearted Father to us, a God who feels with us and weeps with us.
Science has discovered different molecular makeup in tears that are cried for different reasons. Psychic tears are shed during extreme emotion such as grief, disappointment, or even joy. Basal tears protect and lubricate our eyes. And, reflex tears come when we encounter harsh volatile compounds such as onions, wind or smoke. Since God has made tears as part of His wonderful creation of mankind, we should not be surprised that tears come in variety and look differently under a microscope. For an interesting glance, you may want to google The Topography of Tears, and see for yourself the different structure of our tears. What an amazing Creator we serve!
So when the opportunity presents itself, whether through joy, sorrow or onions, go ahead and cry. Our tears are not futile. God knows each of His children intimately, and every tear we shed has meaning to Him. He remembers our sorrow as if He kept each tear in a bottle. In the end, He will share His joy with us when “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4