This past week someone asked me to sit with them while they cried. They are living in a group home and have been told not to cry because it is perceived as fake and unnecessary. I sat with her and she told her story, and cried big, real tears of frustration, of deep sadness, of hopelessness and exhaustion.
What world do we live in where we are not allowed to cry. Romans 12 gives us a map for how to be in community with others. We are given guidance in Grace, and asked to behave in ways that are acceptable to God. We are asked to identify what we do well and then do that humbly in the service of others. We are asked to rejoice in other’s good fortune and celebrate with them, and we are asked to weep when other’s weep.
If we are only present to the good experiences, and we are not able to be present for someone in their troubles, then we are missing out on holy moments. Yeah, it’s hard to be present to tears, it’s hard to listen to someone in distress, but we are called not only to be present for the good times but to be present in the bad. Notice that we’re not called to problem solve, or distract, or fix, we are called to walk a while with someone so they don’t feel so alone in their distress.
Don’t be afraid to let someone cry, offering presence and witness and compassion and tissues…lots of tissues. These are healing balms and conduits of peace.