When we first moved to the North Georgia foothills, I was so in love with the beautiful scenery and our cozy home, that I gave our home a nickname: Ventana de Cielo–window of heaven. I felt as if we were living on the very edge of heaven and, if we chose to open our eyes wide enough, we could glimpse inside and see God’s joy for us. Then time and real life took over.
You ever have one of those days (weeks, months, years…lifetime?) when it seems like you just can’t catch a break? When the entire universe seems to be spinning steadily out of control around you, and you can’t quite hold on? Nothing major, mind you, just little things, constantly going wrong, sending your otherwise normal, mundane day into a nosedive of minor crises. That’s been September for me.
Can’t quite put my finger on any one thing that has sent me over the edge, I’m just living the day-to-day–most of which has been really quite terrific; or at least pretty much normal, average stuff–but there’s also the rapid-fire succession of mini-crisis after mini-crisis that simply wears away at my energy, time…and joy. Just when I think I’ve managed to rise above the last round of punches and have planted my feet firmly on level ground, I endure another series of slaps in the face, and find myself lifting my busted chin off the ground and peering over the dusty horizon to see what’s gonna get me next. It’s the same stuff that three years ago, while suffering through the agonizing fatigue and debilitating pain of chemotherapy, I prayed to have the energy just to do. Now that very same day-to-day stuff has drained me of the energy to enjoy life.
This week has been a constant barrage of minor incidents setting in motion more minor incidents, and driving me slowly and steadily to my knees. This morning was the straw that broke this camel’s back. As I finished my not-so-routine morning of driving kids to school, dropping of forgotten book bags (with half-finished assignments inside), and wiping up spilled coffee, I realized it was time. Time for me to sit back, take a deep breath, say a little prayer for forgiveness and mercy…and have a really good cry. Yes, I know, we’ve all been told a million times by dozens of people that tears don’t solve anything. Don’t you believe them! There are moments in life when you know that life is just going to continue in the same pattern of upward and downward spirals, little crises, too little fun, little bumps and bruises, little nagging episodes draining the pleasures from your daily life without any real reprieve in sight. You can’t “fix” it, you can’t change it, you can’t make it better…it just is what it is. It’s the dirt and grime of everyday life. I’ve also heard that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and if this is true, then maybe tears are the way to clean a soul gone dingy.
In the giant scheme of things, I have a pretty good handle on life. The occasional bad day or minor crisis–and even the most of the major bumps in the road–really don’t get me too far down. The goods and the bads come together to make an incredibly colorful display of joy, when we choose to step back and really look. God plays a huge role in my life and my joy truly does come from Him; and even in the midst of desert trials, I can feel His calming presence and His love surrounding me and holding me strong. But there are days–when the constant bombardment of little things far outweigh the good–and the only thing that truly eases the pressures of life is to wash the soul clean. Why is it that washing your eyes with hot, salty tears seems to cleanse the soul of its bumps and bruises?
It seems that when I actually allow myself the “luxury” of opening my aching heart and pouring out the little agonies I’m feeling–letting the tears fall unchecked–this is when I am open enough to truly receive God’s loving reassurance. As the tears fall, it’s as if He puts His arms around me and holds me–like a parent comforting a sad and tired child–letting my tears and pains and fears and struggles run down my face and out of my heart…and out of my life. As the tears dry and my emotions are finally spent, I feel peace once again enter my soul. My heart feels clean, and I feel more ready to face the onslaught of life in all its brilliant explosion of highs and lows.
No, crying doesn’t change the life I’m living. Crying doesn’t make the child remember his book bag (or his assignments), doesn’t keep accidents from happening, doesn’t help you remember that list of to-do’s you left on the kitchen counter, doesn’t remove those angry words you shouldn’t have said, doesn’t remind you to pay that bill or run that errand. Yet, every once in a while, tears help to clear away the dust and grime of a not-so-perfect life in a not-so-perfect world. Washing the heart clean, cleansing the windows of the soul, so that you can once again glimpse God’s joy through your own ventana de cielo.