The beautiful Easter season is upon us. The promise of spring is all around us. We are reminded of Jesus’ Resurrection and our eternal life. Sooooooo …“Why Are We Weeping?” Just like Mary Magdalene, who wept at the empty tomb, we weep at the loss of our loved one. Jesus understood Mary’s grief, as He understands our grief. The Lord did not tell Mary “Don’t cry. “ or “Tears are a sign of weakness.” or “You should be over it.” He asked her “Why are you weeping?” He accepted her sadness, her humanness, and showed concern and compassion.
Let us remind ourselves that the Lord wept at the death of his friend, Lazarus. John 11:45. He experienced human emotions, he was sad and a natural response was to cry! He cried tears of compassion for Martha and Mary, Lazarus’ sisters, who were grieving their brother’s death. He also cried tears of sadness for the loss of His friend. Although Jesus knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead, he wept.
In so many cultures, people are encouraged to grieve openly (both women AND men!) There is crying, sobbing, whaling and days of mourning following the death of a loved one. In our western culture: not so much. Lack of emotion is looked at as a sign of strength, showing emotions exudes weakness and lack of control.
The Lord created the wonderful gift of tears. I use that gift frequently! There is scientific research that supports the healthiness of releasing your sadness and grief through tears.
“At the St Paul Ramsey Medical Center in Minnesota, tears caused by simple irritants were compared to those brought on by emotion. Researcher William Frey found that stress-induced tears actually remove toxic ‘substances’ from the body1. Volunteers were led to cry first from watching sad movies, and then from freshly cut onions. The researchers found that the tears from the movies, called emotional tears, contained far more toxic biological byproducts. Weeping, they concluded, is an excretory process which removes toxic substances that normally build up during emotional stress.”
Use the gift of tears! Have a good cry! Don’t apologize for weeping. Appreciate God’s perfect creation of emotions and emotional releases. May God continue to comfort you and bring you strength during your time of grief.
- Tom Kovach, ‘Tear Toxins’, Omni, December 1982. Back
Nancy Romaine, Bereavement Coordinator