She was hesitant as she approached, inquiring almost reluctantly, "Are you okay? I noticed you crying."
I smiled and thanked her for caring enough to ask, reassuring her that, in my world, crying is NOT the same as not being alright!
Truth is, I was feeling sad.
I was missing people who I've loved and who aren't here anymore.
I even surprised myself with who got included on the list.
When did tears get to be exclusively an indication that you're not OK?
Yes, they may indicate depression; yes, they signal sadness and loss...
but, for me, as someone who has paid the equivalent of several advanced degrees at Ivy League schools to various therapists, they also represent the ability to feel and the ability to express those feelings and I, at long last, believe that's healthy, not harmful!
It's a gift to have survived over 6 decades, to have invested enough in human relationships that I can feel sad when they end - or end up differently than I had hoped.
So, thanks for asking but, while I may be crying, I'm at least fully aware - and that's more than fine!
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness--on them light has shined. Isaiah 9:2
When I heard these words in church recently, I was struck by how fitting they are for the age and world we live in today and how all generations before us have probably felt the sting of truth in them too.
The reality of the human condition is that we are broken.
We have the freedom of choice – and we misuse that freedom and screw up more times than not.
Maybe not in the colossal, news grabbing manner of mowing down innocent children with military weapons but by simply and consistently choosing to live in ways that support violence, estrangement and oppression… through our actions and even, sometimes, through our silence.
My spirit has been strengthened by the voices of modern day ‘prophets’ this week - those crying in the wilderness that the madness gripping our country has to stop.
The words in scripture were targeted long ago to people living in anxiety, fear, and despair; people feeling bereft of security, safety, and any sense of God's presence.
Their trajectory, however, landed squarely in our midst.
This year, more than ever before, Christmas can be a reminder to us all - that despite the world telling us there’s ‘no room’ - for hope, for healing, for peace - ‘goodness’ gets re-born in a dank, dark manager - among animals.
‘Light’ has been given to the world by a loving God and no matter how tightly we shut our doors, or our hearts, it doesn’t prevent it from existing.
The darkness will never put it out.
I need to believe that.
I need to remember that.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.