Monday, December 22, 2008

Old Tears

Old Tears

Part of waking up is remembering where we lost things long ago – and finding them again.

My daily routine starts with sitting in my favorite place - an old fashioned, squeaky rocking chair. It had belonged to my beloved grandmother. She died sitting there comfortably - one leg dangling over the rocker arm and a cup of coffee nearby.

So I sit in this chair with a book on my lap and breathe deeply. It doesn’t take long before something begins to happen.

This morning there is a strange achy feeling in the arms and I suddenly hear my father yelling, “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!”

Oh my God, a long lost memory surfacing from the recesses of my poor body - that has striven to shield me all these years! I could even hear the tone and timbre of my father’s voice all over again, the angry arrogance of his impatient demand on that little boy.

I re-experienced the cringing as tears were stuffed down inside, the fear and uncertainty produced by finding oneself in an alien universe where natural feelings weren’t permitted.

And a wave of grateful sympathy washed over me for the humble flesh and bones which have obediently received the anguish of my life on this earth and hidden it from awareness . . . until now.

I don’t blame my father – he was obviously in pain as well. The same cruel words had no doubt been spoken to him. There is nothing like a child’s unhappiness for triggering that which is still hurting within us.

And so, these many years later, tears flowed freely that ought to have flowed then. And the body sighed with relief and release.

But all this made me wonder – did Jesus cry as a child? In all the vast religious art concerned with Christ’s nativity, is there even one depiction of the baby weeping?

If not, it may be a reflection of the illogical and insensitive presumption that, being divine, Jesus had no need for anything and therefore should never cry.

Personally I would like to believe this thesis false, and that the infant would have behaved very much like you or I in that regard - though certainly not because of parental neglect or meanness.

After all, the most poignant, and shortest, verse in the Bible is this: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).


  1. Cleansing tears of release...let's weep tears of joy in truth and the light of who and what we truly are, even if we have not yet 'fully' realized...thanks for sharing :-)

  2. That is probably the verse that touches me the most, " Jesus wept."