Surprised at my tears, learning to surrender

Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later.

1 Corinthians 15:43-46

It’s probably a good thing I don’t rely on this blog for income! Rather than being concerned about SEOs, polling my readers, or checking to see if my content matches “trending” interests, I simply write what is on my heart and mind. Sometimes people – like you – look over my shoulder to read. Once in a while they share with friends (thanks!). On rare occasions something “goes viral” and snags a thousand or more views.

However, and regardless, this space at heart remains a personal journal and a window to my soul.

And so today I am writing about tears. I had intended this blog to move on from the loss of my dad, and I thought we were done with the crying but apparently not! I am talking about it this morning because I believe this is an important topic, especially for men because we tend to associate emotion with weakness and that is absolutely not true.

I did not cry when dad died. The overwhelming emotion was relief, and his passing was such a peaceful and beautiful moment that it did not come with sadness. I cried a little when I brought my mum in to see him, but the tears were from love and in response to the pain she felt in her loss. The air around dad was heavy with love, and prayer, and emotion, and gratitude for his life and my tears were simply surplus feelings I did not have the capacity to hold.

For me, most of the hard work of grieving had worked its way through the past two to three years, as dad’s life slowly ebbed away a little at a time.

But then the dam burst:

But then yesterday evening, halfway through an episode of James Herriot’s “All Creatures Great and Small”, a series of scenes triggered a seismic response that dislodged all the emotion that has been stored up over time and become stuck in various places in my soul and psyche.

Of course, it caught me off guard.

At the beginning of the episode a dog was struck by a vehicle and taken to the vet’s office where – sadly- he died. Then, as if that were not enough, a beautiful horse ran into trouble during labor and all three vets had to race to the scene. The horse was already emotionally entangled as it had belonged a key character’s recently deceased mother. After a long struggle the horse was saved, and the healthy foal found its feet before standing with its mother on the picturesque Yorkshire hillside.

There was more, of course; the writers really know how to manipulate a vulnerable, soft-hearted, recently bereaved, missing the English countryside ex-pat like me.

So the mother horse nuzzled up to her heroically saved foal as the human characters looked on, smiling, and for me the dam burst. I melted into a deep puddle of tears right there on the sofa and I didn’t just cry, I wept.

Not sadness; not even grief. But all the emotions of the past few years, all the overwhelm. Love, pain, exhaustion, doubt, tenderness, hope, patience, persistence, prayer, dogged belief, disappointment, peace….

To be honest I’m not sure that I am cried out yet.

Spiritual contained in physical…

This to me is one of the proofs of the life to come. We are, fundamentally, spiritual beings and we experience extracorporeal feelings our bodies/minds alone cannot nearly process. When we are overwhelmed, washed over with a depth of love and of grace we cannot possibly manage, our hearts/souls break apart because – as yet – it is something we do not have the capacity to handle.

Like beauty we cannot take in, music that fills us with such joy we sit in the stalls with tears streaming down our cheeks, art that moves us, or the experience of a child’s birth that completely wrecks parents, our humanness (or at least mine) is often inadequate for the task of emotion so we try to shut it down.

As I age I find that this is a battle I lose more and more often. And for that I am grateful.

You can have all of me, Lord. My hopes, my dreams, my love, my purpose; and – admittedly because I no longer have the resources (or the false pride) with which to resist – you can have my emotions too. – DEREK

4 comments

  1. Derek, you’re being authentic & real. Love is felt in many ways. You’ll have many firsts without your dad that might catch you off guard. That’s part of living also. Thank you for sharing. Grief is felt after so much love. Peace,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I cry so much easier these days, then even a few years ago. I’ve been through so many times of grief and sorrow, much of it without tears. It’s good now to be in touch with my emotional being as never before. I’m sure that’s related to my growth in spirituality and prayer. Our Lord Jesus was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” I want more than anything to be like Him! Blessings, dear brother.

    Liked by 1 person

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