What I am currently facing is not the topic today. My response is.
When something tragic or distressing occurs in my life I put on emotional armor and tuck my head a bit, then I tend to charge forward. Much like a defensive lineman in American football will push against their opponents to keep them from gaining another yard. My goal is to get my opponent (sorrow, grief, loss, whatever) to lose ground and eventual control of the ball (the situation) and then I will gain possession.
This weekend I learned first hand, that while this approach works well on the football field, it is a bad approach in real life. I found myself facing a heartbreak in the life of someone dear to me and I immediately put on shoulder pads and helmet to drive against grief that was trying to gain yardage. I managed to hold my line for about 48-hours. Then mourning broke through my line.
For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me, (Psalm 109:22 NIV-1984).
I saw an ordinary bottle on my counter and the grief washed over me, like a 98-pound weakling facing a championship winning offensive line – I could not push it back. I relinquished myself to it and the tears came in full force. When I was finally able to stand up and wipe my cheeks, I realized how many times I had responded to loss in this way. The amount of time may vary, but it would hit, and I could only surrender to the grief.
Coming from a “dust yourself off and get back up” life approach all my life, I had never realized the value of embracing my sorrow. Strength can only be valued if there is something else to which it can be compared. If I am strong all the time, then I become static, one dimensional. Crying is not a weakness, it is a strength. It is acknowledging and allowing the experience to be fully embraced.
Jesus only knows how my world is changing due to this situation. I am not sharing my opponent- it will give it more power than it deserves. I am choosing to embrace my tears though, for the first time ever. I have always detested crying and losing control of my emotions. I am grateful God has allowed me to see there is power and strength in tears.
Mourning has broken through my defenses. Now that the play is over, it is time for me to gather my team at the scrimmage line. When the ball is snapped and everyone is in motion again, I will be ready, I am stronger. My teammates have my back and will support me. I know they are here already.
Over twenty-five years ago I heard Steve Camp’s song, Love that Will not Let me Go, during another season of mourning. I now find myself playing the lyrics over and over again again. I don’t know if you need these words today, Best Beloved, but I hope you will be able to rest in them when you need them.