Recently, my sister sent me a link to a real-estate listing. Because neither one of us is house hunting, I was curious. I clicked on it and saw a picture of a small white house with black shutters sitting between a field and a pond. Immediately, I recognized it as the ranch that my paternal grandparents lived in when we were growing up.
My grandparents have been gone for many years. I hadn’t seen it since I was a teenager when my Granny was in the kitchen and my Pa was sick in bed.
Each photo in the gallery brought with it memories I didn’t even know I still had: picking apart cattails by the pond, the smell of fish food in a container by the dock, the sound of our station-wagon tires turning onto the gravel driveway from Highway E…
By the time I clicked to the last photo, tears were rolling down my cheeks and I couldn’t speak. I wasn’t exactly sad, but I wasn’t happy either. Sometimes tears are mysterious.
I’m a crier. Just about every emotion: sorrow, happiness, anger, frustration … comes out of my heart and soul in (sniff) salty drops.
Regardless of the reason for our tears, there will be none in heaven. God promises to wipe away every one of them once and for all.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
This fascinates me. I can’t even watch someone win the Showcase Showdown without tissues, so how will I be able to experience the ultimate joy of being in God’s presence without falling on the floor in a puddle of emotion? I can’t even imagine.
I loved the time I spent on the country ranch, but I have fond memories of my mom’s parents, also. In fact, the older I get, the more I remind myself of my more-urban, maternal Granny. She was a teacher, a writer, and a big time crier. I remember her telling me about when she stood blubbering at her first sight of the Rocky Mountains. She laughed as she told me this story, and I nodded my head, understanding completely, my throat closing up just at the thought.
Even if you aren’t a crier, you’ve probably experienced a stirring of emotions when a bit of nostalgia or a touching story crosses your path. I bet you’re occasionally moved by extraordinary beauty or deep truth. If you pay attention…
Whether or not tissues are needed, these moments remind us that things aren’t the way they should be. They are the echoes of the Creator calling His creation home, and our soul leaps at the hope and groans in the waiting.
He made everything to hear His voice. Even that old country pond and those snow-capped mountains are responding to His call and crying out for the new heaven and the new earth.
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8: 22-23
If you’re a stoic, pay close attention to those subtle soul-stirrings and let them remind you of what’s to come. Even if you don’t allow them to spill over, let tears blur your vision so you can remember that things won’t always look this way.
And you, Crybaby, you won’t even recognize yourself in heaven without your splotchy face or quivering lip. You’ll be united with gravel and grandparents, and clapping your hands with the trees of the field. Just thinking of it makes me… oh, never mind.
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12
My mysterious tears are liquid longings for a season with no death, a time when kids can explore free and safe, and a place where families can live together -in perfect health- forever.
How long, O Lord? How long?