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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tears and "snot!"

Tears and snot?  That sounds so crude, but real.  My youngest daughter has been through her share of trials; she is really the one who has coined this expression.  When she is deeply troubled about something and comes over to share it with me, I hold her as she cries.  Then we laugh together as we dry our tears and see the remaining evidence of tears and mucous on my shoulder with her burden seeming much lighter.

As I was reading this story in Genesis this morning, it amazed me how many times it mentioned Joseph weeping.  It doesn't say he wept when he was made fun of by his family for sharing his dreams.  It doesn't say he cried when his brothers were jealous of his father's attention or of the new coat his father gave him.  It doesn't say he cried when they threw him in the pit or when they sold him into slavery.

While working as an RN, I had a social worker friend who taught me about the value and the unpredicatability of tears.  She said that even when we are hurting and don't cry outwardly, it's as if we have this bucket inside of us that collects teardrops.  When the bucket will overflow is unpredictable.   One small act or kindling of a memory can tip that bucket over, and the tears begin a flood!

It was the reuniting with his younger brother that documents the first "tipping of the bucket" for Joseph.  Genesis 43:30 says, "Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep.  He went into his private room and wept there."

Before revealing his identity to the brothers who had treated him so wrongly, the Bible says that Joseph wept so loudly that the Egyptians and Pharaoh's household heard about it  (Genesis 45:2).  Then what stands out to me is that communication with his brothers was restored after he wept over them (Genesis 45:14-15).  I imagine a few kleenex tissues could have been used here! 

Tears were shed again when Joseph's father was brought to Egypt.  The Bible says that "...he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time."  Mmmmm.  Weepy eyes and red noses.  That must have been a picture to behold.  Father reunited with his son after thinking for so long that he was dead.  Son able to soak up the embrace of his father.  Their tears must have released and helped erase the many years of pain, separation and frustration for both of them.

After the death of their father, again it was Joseph's tears that brought healing.  The tears were evidence of the forgiveness he had given to his brothers; tears that caused his brothers to trust that he would do them good and not retaliate for their past mistakes  (Genesis 50:15-21).

I guess we really shouldn't be embarrassed by our tears and runny noses when God is just using them to wash away unnecessary debris in our lives and to bring healing.   I can definitely think of a time in my life when God used someone else's tears to bring healing to me...

5 comments:

Alice said...

It's so true that a sudden act of kindness, or words with love in one's eyes, often bring those tears. (And it's often you, dear Esther, who makes my "bucket suddenly tip".)

Ozark yankee said...

A+

Karen said...

Thank you so much for this post!! This Friday is the 15th anniversary of my son's death. After all these years, at the most unexpected time, something "ordinary" can trigger tears. It is hard for some people to understand that. My Hospice chaplain told me, "Never be ashamed of your tears!" This is my first visit to your blog. You are a wonderful writer!

Mildred said...

So very nice to meet you. My sister (Karen above) sent me here. Karen and I have discussed unexpected tears many times. Your post was excellent.

Heather Gilion said...

Beautiful description of the "tipping of the bucket"... love that! Thank you...