Tag Archives: Tears

All The Tears I Never Cried

Psalm 56:8  New Living Translation (NLT)

You keep track of all my sorrows.
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.

The message is clear; touching.  We have heard it repeated and expressed in many different ways.  Through songs, blogs, stories and in inspirational articles.  In sermons and poems. God has our tears.  Every tear we’ve ever cried.  Not a single one is lost.  Not a single one went unnoticed.  He collected them each one.  He recorded them in His book.  God is moved by our weeping.

But what about all the tears never cried?

All those tears I was never able to release.  All the pain still held behind my eyes.

Most of my tears haven’t been cried.  My eyes have stayed disturbingly and resolutely dry.  The dam I built when but a child remains strong.  No water is released, no matter how great the need for relief.  No matter how much the pressure behind it.

It wasn’t safe to let them flow freely; not when I was a preschooler.  Nor when I was in junior high. Not when married to the man who rejected me.  Who didn’t love me.  Never loved me.  It wasn’t smart to release them to form rivers that would drip from my cheeks and drop off the tip of my nose.  It wasn’t safe to feel.   I held them in and kept them sealed tightly inside, carefully hidden in the darkest depths of my soul.  Until I forgot how to open the floodgates.

There they remain.  Tears never cried.  Stagnant.

My heart has been in deep pain most of my life.  My journey hasn’t been easy.  It hasn’t had many ups.  But the major blows have been plentiful.  I’ve encountered too many difficult challenges that beat me to a pulp until I was too numb to respond.  Until it was all I could do to get up off the floor.  Take a step.  Then another.  I’ve had abundant reasons to cry and I’ve longed many times to weep uncontrollably.   But showing vulnerability has never been safe.  Feeling such raw emotions has proven to be foolish.  Letting someone see my heart has always been idiotic.  When I slipped and exposed my weakness, the repercussions were many and they were terrible.  So I have swallowed the pain.  And the tears.

They have remained dammed up behind a massive wall of numbness.  Repressed for years and years.  Every blow has caused the wall to be built higher.  Wider.  Stronger.  The ocean of tears to grow deeper.

What about those tears?  The ones I’ve never cried?

Are they of no significance?   Hidden and unexpressed, have they lost their authenticity?  Is unexpressed pain of no importance?  Do only the tears actually released have meaning?  Are they the only ones that count?  The only ones God collects and treasures?

The tears we cry matter. He sees.  Has compassion.  Wipes them away.  Holds each one.  Knows the reason for them; for every single one.  These are the precious tears that are kept in His bottle and recorded in His book.

Are they the only tears God cherishes?

If so…

I have a million uncried tears rotting in my soul and they will never have significance.  They are worthless. The battle I fought to contain them is meaningless.  The struggle I went through to carry them, to prevent them from inconveniently raining down on others, is inconsequential.   I carried them when sharing them would have been easier…if riskier.  I held them back and pasted a smile on my face to survive.  And when surviving became all I knew how to do, the uncried tears multiplied until they were legion.

They are legion still.

But they are not in His bottle.  They are bottled up in my heart, a painful reminder of all I have suffered alone.  Of how my life has left me with nothing more than regrets and toxic memories.

“He knows your name
Every tear you cry
He knows the pain
How you feel alone”

 (Moriah Peters, “No Shame”)

When I do not cry, is He unable to know my pain?  Does He not discern how alone I feel?  How the nights are empty and silent?  And the days are wrapped in rabid isolation?  Does He continue to absent Himself, uncaring of the hurt that rips me apart and stomps me helplessly into the earth where I am ground again to dust?

When I can’t cry, does He not care?  Is He untouched by my tearless brokenness?

I wish I could cry freely and let God collect the tears in His bottle and record them in His book.  I wish I could believe my pain moved Him, whether I managed to shed the tears or remained too afraid to let my guard down; to open my heart.  To be that vulnerable.  Revealing weaknesses through tears is risky.  It can give those who are intent on hurting you a way in to your most tender places.   Places where they can do the most significant amount of damage.  But I cannot cry.  I am imprisoned behind this wall.  I have waited too long to seek release.  The ocean of tears I have held in for a lifetime know the boundaries set for them so long ago and no longer cross the line.

They are contained in my bottle.  A dead sea.

All the tears I have not cried.  That I’ve held inside trying to survive.  That I’ve choked down while they almost choked me.  The only bottle my tears reside in…is the cavern of my heart.  I am drowning in them.  Their salt stings my eyes.  I taste them in my mouth.  But God doesn’t gather them.  He does not hold them in His hand.  There is no comfort to be had.  Only this ocean of sorrow.  Growing larger, deeper, wider with every passing moment.  And I do not know how to swim in the foul waves any more than I know how to weep until this endless sea of tears is finally drained dry.

Dry Eyes

I was a very sensitive, tender-hearted child who had a lot of empathy and compassion, even at a very young age.  I intuitively understood emotional pain, vulnerability, sadness.  I hurt when others hurt.  I was gentle and sweet.  Loved animals, realizing they needed someone to look after them and to protect them.  Sounds like I was an angel, right?  Well, not quite.  But I had some great qualities for a kid.  I was actually a pretty good kid when I was small.  Not a trouble-maker, not then.  Not until high school.  I wanted to please, longed to cuddle, wanted to be loved.
Then my parents got a hold of me.
They didn’t succeed in removing my compassionate and empathetic soul.  But I pulled inside and built massive protective walls to keep them from utterly destroying me.  I became very watchful.  Even more sensitive…I had my antennas out in full force, always seeking to “hear” what wasn’t being said and to know and understand what was hidden.  Yes, I became watchful…and silent.  My goal was to be invisible.  For protection.
Things touched me deeply.  I believe I had that natural tendency anyway, but being abused and neglected dug deep canyons and I seemed to experience and feel things on a level that most people either don’t have or rarely access.  I remember crying frequently.  At night, in bed, trying to go to sleep, I would bury my head in a pillow and sob.  I lived in a nightmare filled with darkness and pain.  But I had to act like everything was totally fine and as if I was not a damaged person who was being damaged more by the second.  I learned to mimic the behavior and speech of others in my attempt to fit in and go unnoticed.  But at night, alone in my room, the tears often came.  I tried to suppress the searing pain that drove deep into my heart.  Pushed it down.  Sealed it off.  Until I could finally sleep.
Until HE would come into my room.  Then I became stone again.
But as a child, even in this quagmire, I still felt.  I still cried.  I still had access to my emotions.  They came out when there was no one around to notice.
Sometimes, I cried at silly things because they were more “acceptable.”  I couldn’t, after all, cry about what my father was doing to me.  Or my mother hitting me.  That wasn’t allowed.  But the commercial where the repairman was cleaning out his locker because he was retiring?   My heart suddenly broke for him!  It was safe to cry, even if it was a bit over the top.  Bidding the old year goodbye and welcoming in the New Year?  The old year was gone forever…and I couldn’t stop the tears!  I also remember being late for school one day and getting in trouble for it.  But when I had left the house that morning, intending to be my usual early self, I had stopped by to see my dog and pet her for a few minutes before I left.  Her big chocolate eyes tugged at my heart.  She longed for attention.  Needed me.  Needed to be held, petted, loved.  I wept as I petted her…for over an hour.  Even then, even that young, in grade school, I was learning to displace my emotions.  But I was still able to let them out…though they were not attached to the events that caused the tears to fall.
My heart broke into a million pieces a million times.  Eventually, I was unable to pick them all up and stuff them back in to my soul.  All those pieces were like dust blowing in the wind.  I mourned their loss.  I became a little more detached.  I kept walking.
Now, instead of trying to stuff the feelings inside of me, I’m trying to drag them out.  I can’t cry.  Even when I should be able to sob, the tears don’t often come.  Those few degrees of displacement have widened to a canyon of incredible proportions.  I can no longer reach across.  Or even see across.  The trip takes days.  The connection, the bridge, is lost, destroyed.  My heart feels hard.  My eyes stay dry.
I still feel a spasm.  So I’m aware that things hurt.  But the sensations are instantly numbed, compartmentalized, boxed up and deployed to the nether regions.  They are swiftly shoved down into the darkness and buried there.  I know I still have emotions.  But like creatures of the sea that never come into the shallower waters, so are my feelings.  They swim in the deepest depths of my being.  They no longer have pigment because they have been in the darkness for so long.  It makes them nearly impossible to see.  They live, but far, far down within me, deep in a place where nothing much else survives.
I wish I could restore the connection.  I wish I could tell my younger self to stop the process of severing the nerves so the damage would never happen.  Because trying to put those fragile connections back together is nearly, if not totally, impossible.  I would tell her not to go that route.  To find another way.  Surely, there was a better way.  One that would leave me alive.
You see, what I didn’t know, didn’t understand back then when I was a child, nerves, once severed, are not easily reconnected.  Healing doesn’t just happen.  If you’re lucky enough that it happens at all, it takes a massive amount of work.  A boatload of energy.  A century of time.  And you will never be the same.   
I want to feel.  I want to be able to cry when tears are called for.  I want to love and be loved.  I want to live.  I want to dance with joy and weep with despair.  I want to laugh hysterically and sob uncontrollably.  I want to be genuine, uncontrolled, uncontained, uncensored.  I want to be healed, to cast off the darkness, the depression, the chains, the brokenness.  I want to have hope and a future.  I want the impossible to be possible.  I don’t want to live my life with dry eyes and a frozen heart.  Because for once, just for a bit, I want to really live my life.  
 I sit reading the words I have written as they play across my computer screen.  I am, as always, alone.  I find myself searching for some emotion, any feeling, to sweep through me, if only for a second.  But I am a desert, arid, without moisture, without wind.  And my eyes remain absolutely, resolutely, dry.
I have a lot of crying to do to catch up.   I have many tears that need to be shed.  Perhaps someday I will be able to weep.  Then, maybe, at last, I will be able to dance in the sunshine…even if my heart is broken.