Last night we watched the movie “Miracles From Heaven” together as a family. It was a spiritual and emotional journey through the life of a mother whose daughter has a rare intestinal disease. The mother, played by the perfectly perplexed Jennifer Garner, was in a horrendous state of emotional pain as she watched her little girl suffer. Many touching exchanges and exasperated scenes plagued my heart and of course, brought tears to my eyes.
Seeing your mother cry for the first time, or second, or ever for that matter, is a plateau of a new understanding in a child’s life. I remember my mother sobbing only once, when my Nana (her mother) died. The only other time I had even a hint at her sadness was when she had meningitis. She didn’t openly cry, but as she asked me to get her some water, tears were rolling down her cheeks from the pain in her head. As a selfish teenager, it stopped me in my tracks.
My daughter is having a tough time seeing me cry, of course. She is only fourteen. She is at the age where she looks to me for modeling. No pressure at all. Because I am the height of moral, ethical, emotional and physical health, I don’t worry about this. (Why do I hear minions laughing in the background?)
I tried to explain to her that the scriptures mention tears being used for cleansing, and Jesus himself had his feet washed with the tears of a woman. There are many kinds of tears; tears of sadness, mourning, joy and fear. Being touched by something sentimental is not the same as being sad and distraught, I tried to explain. I finally referred to my dad. Being an artistic type of person, and the father of four emotional girls, my dad is what I call a “Leaky Faucet”. He is always choking up over some sweet story of someone who overcame a difficulty, shared a strife, or complimented him on his soft and beautiful heart. I told her “I am like Papa. We are leaky faucets.” Drip, drip, drip.
I am grateful for my father’s legacy of tears. I was considering today how we are advised to let our faucets drip on sub-freezing nights, so we don’t blow a pipe. The water will freeze and burst the pipes, but setting the spigot on a slow drip all night will release the pressure. Perhaps my leaky emotional faucet is a gift. Perhaps I am able to keep from bursting through the drip, drip, drip of those sweet moments which define life itself. I often ask God why He didn’t give me at least one extra layer of skin. It is painful to live life as an emotionally exposed person. In His providence, He sought to create in some of us a soft resting place for life’s minute intricacies and beauties to be fully and completely recognized. I guess I will be happy to be avoiding a burst pipe, whether it is August or January.