Tears in a Bottle — grateful, yet grieving

Pam Luschei

During the first year of grieving the sudden loss of my husband, I had a regular companion; tears.  Most days I would cry and shed tears at the loss of my spouse of 36 years and my life as I knew it.  I was grieving.  There would be a trigger of some kind.  I would cry in the car frequently, as I drove by a familiar place we would go to have dinner.  My car became a safe place with no one around to express my grief.  I began to buy the multiple packs of Kleenex at Target regularly. 

Somewhere in the first month after my husband died, I found a verse in Psalm 56:8 (HCSB), “You Yourself have recorded my wanderings.  Put my tears in Your bottle.  Are they not in Your records?”  I felt like I struck gold when I read these words.  David wrote these words when he was lamenting to God to save him.  His tears were being stored and recorded.  His tears were recognized as valuable.  Our tears have value to God. 

Our culture discounts and dismisses our expressions of grief and pain.  Such a contrast to how God values and honors our tears by keeping them safe.  We place what we value in safe and special places.  God keeps our tears in bottles and records them validates their meaning.  Tears are an expression of our love as we mourn the loss of our loved one.  I like to think of them as “liquid gold”, or as I’ve heard said, “liquid love”. 

As I was getting ready to write this blog post, I did some research on the value of our tears.  Kathy Mendias, a certified childbirth educator in a local health organization says this about the value of tears.  “Crying is an amazing physical miracle — an exceptional bodily function that allows us to bring our bodies back into emotional and physical balance, and helps us share our most intense, intimate emotions with others,” Mendias says.  “This essential physical response promotes positive outcomes and enhances relationships, so there is never a need to be ashamed of or embarrassed by this powerful human gift.” 

There’s so much wisdom in what Kathy says of the benefits of our tears.  Seeing our tears as a miracle and a gift dislodges the idea that we need to apologize for crying.  I can’t help but remember the line in the movie, “A League of Their Own”, where Tom Hanks yells to his female baseball team, “There’s no crying in baseball!”  Maybe not in baseball, but crying is allowed and honored when we are grieving. 

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Used with permission from Pam Luschei.

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