"I'm Leaking", said the Grinch. Mine was more of a drowning.

It was a very, very bad day. The kind that swells to tsunami level with no warning. My soul, mind, body and spirit careened recklessly with the brake wires clipped. With no berm to skid to a stop, I sobbed most of the day. By the next morning my face appeared to have been filled with all the fluid I had cried out. I looked like the shit I felt inside.

Some say crying can be a good thing, a cleansing that needs to occur. Maybe. Sometimes, possibly. This though wasn't one of those cries. This particular soul weeping left me feeling beat up, drained and defeated. Evidently, extended hard crying physically inflames the tissues in your face and under your eyes. At least that's what the mirror and Google told me.

Watching someone sob with great intensity and duration is tough to be a spectator for. There are no words that can remotely cause a cessation of the sobs. Reason cannot be received. It cannot penetrate that level of emotional intensity. All one can do is be present to let it run its course. The ministry of presence and silence is a big gift.

I was feeling the magnitude of distance, separation and isolation which was highlighted by my dad's 80th birthday. We all only have so many birthdays and I was missing precious time with him! It was as well the first year of not having a holiday baking day with my daughter. I was missing her and my granddaughter who, until I moved away from her, had spent constant time at my house. The bigness of a house remodel we had underestimated the amount of work that needed to be done had gone on for too long. I was missing my old job and boss. I was longing for life back home with the people and culture I love. I was isolated by the distance home (and a pandemic), a culture that didn't invite inclusiveness and life being universally pandemic-ally suspended everywhere presently. I felt burdened for the world and COVID, my family members that worked in healthcare and my own tenuous health amidst a pandemic. My health had taken a toll as well since moving here. It collided to a wall that crushed me.

My family refers to that level of sobbing as "the shovels". It's crying of such magnitude that your body sucks in air and shakes. Not a dainty or pretty crying at all but rather snot dripping, unaware of your surroundings, disconnected from all that is present sort of crying. The only thing you see or feel is waves of crying sobs. An emotional seasickness. It's a piece of grief expressing itself.

Why was the spontaneous reaction to things that were not new so great. I both tried to dissect my excessive crying and not put it into precise reasons or files. Loss has no real 3 step solution, though I wanted it to. The best I could give myself was just some acceptance and a scoop of hope for the future to be better than the present. But mostly, I needed grace to live in a space that isn't what I wanted without the things/people that I so desperately wanted.

I called my sisters a few days later. One of them reminded me that God says he holds our tears in a bottle. My bottle, I told my sister, was probably one of the bigger ones he has for tears. Her laughter at my response was what I needed to hear too.

God saving our tears in a bottle is a very intensely intimate picture of the intricate listening, value, care and wild all out love God has for us. For me. Nothing is not noticed by Him. Nothing. Even our tears mean something to Him. It seems odd to me though, as tears usually aren't totally coherent  nor orderly. I know mine were not that day. The thought of my jar of tears, "Nancy's tears", being held by God made me feel hopeful and much less alone.

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