Last week Monday, a member of my church died. She was our matriarch. In her honor, we had a time of singing and prayer instead of the usual sermon during our worship service on Saturday.
Minutes after worship, I got word that another member had died. She’d been sick for a while and quite private about it. Recovery would require the miracle she and others of us prayed for.
I’m processing “out loud” for someone else’s sake and for my own.
If you’re that someone who doesn’t cry (any more) or doesn’t wear all your emotions on your sleeve, gently remind yourself that your emotions are still there. They may show up in your lower back after doing nothing strenuous. They may show up as restlessness as soon as your head gets comfy on your pillow.
They will show up because our bodies speak, eventually reminding us that we’re not some superior being. Rather, we’re who we are with a way of living that’s the result of what’s happened to us through the years. Some parts of us are just fine, even super healthy. Some parts are broken.
And you’re correct when you say that you don’t need to show your pain like others. You do need to carve out some time, though, to let the discomfort come.
The older I get, the more emotionally agile I’ve become with some things. The world doesn’t stop so neither do I. I slip into “What’s next?” mode and take care of everything but myself. It’s easier to pause when whatever has happened actually makes me weep, which is rare. No stream of tears? No slowing down.
When I left our church matriarch’s hospital room for the last time, I knew there was no miracle to beg for—she was dying. 86 and ready to go. My eyes filled with tears but once on the elevator, the tears dried right up, never touching my cheeks. It was maybe a ten-second process. Worship would begin within the hour. There were people to greet and a sermon to preach.
I’ve wept a lot in the last twenty years. In 2003, I lost sight in my left eye. In 2010, my assistant died in a car accident. In 2013, I had my first miscarriage. In 2014, I experienced a frustrating pregnancy and birthed my first child. In 2016, I had my second miscarriage. In 2016/2017, I experienced another frustrating pregnancy and birthed my second child. In 2021, I began my journey with Long Covid and both of my grandmother’s died.
There are times when the process of tear production seems halted by an unconscious emotional rebellion—“We’re not ready. We’re still recouping from the last event. Give us time.”
This morning, I spent a little time with high school students & their teachers because one of the students died by suicide yesterday. I met her a couple of summers ago.
Until the day I see all three women again…tears or no tears…
Give us this day our daily bread, just enough to journey through the next goodbye.