Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Solitary Tear

"How are you?"
Asked millions of times a day around the world.
Usually more a greeting than a question.

"How are you?"
I asked with sincere intent on Sunday morning.
Nine kids in a pew and on time to church
makes it hard to focus on anything else, but
there are some things that make you
forget yourself,
love another.

"How are you?"
Such a dreadfully incompetent question
for one who has just lost her mother.
A beautiful 17-year-old girl,
burdens now far beyond the petty but oh-so-real poignancies of teenage life,
looking after three younger siblings.
Seated directly in front of us.

"How are you?"
"We're doing OK,"
said with a real, if subdued smile.
My heart went out, trying to comprehend their incomprehensible loss.
I focused on them for a few moments, until
"Dad, she won't let me sit where I want to"'s
pulled me back to my world.
My oh-so-challenging
and yet
And my mind forgot their sadness.

She turned to look at her little sister.
A solitary tear sat halfway down her cheek.
And my heart broke.
Ounce for ounce, has there been a more emotion-filled tear?
Which of the multitude of fears and frustrations
had pushed that one tear
So composed.  So determined.  So strong.
Just one tear.

The opening hymn began
'Come unto Jesus, ye heavy laden
Careworn and fainting, by sin oppressed.
He'll safely guide you unto that haven
Where all who trust him may rest.'
So grateful.
Thank you, Jesus.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
It is true.
His love is there.
His love is real.
Nothing can soothe the loss of a mother, a child, a spouse.
Except His love.

I am grateful that this mother, now gone, cared so much about her daughter.
Cared enough to spend a lifetime preparing her for this time.
Helping her come to know Jesus.
To love Jesus.
And to be able to reach out
and feel his loving arms
surround her in this time of
unsurpassed pain.

I pray.
That somewhere in the midst of those emotions,
in spite of pain,
overcoming the agony,
is the light of
in that solitary tear.