I was born while the “stiff upper lip” brand of English was still in evidence. I learned from a child to be strong and keep my emotions on a tight leash. There is something to be said for this early training. I could never have survived and successfully brought up my kids alone without it. You set your feelings aside for the sake of others in order to deal with whatever crisis may arise.
Only in my senior years have I felt able to give my tears free range and I’ve come to realise, for me the things that bring tears most readily are intense joy, beauty and the moving of God’s spirit. It’s very seldom they come from sadness, perhaps my early training precludes much of this, or perhaps I just have a blessed life.
We are often embarrassed when tears come in public, (I still always try to quench them – tears are humbling lol!). However, if I examine my reaction to tears in others they bring feelings of compassion, empathy, and camaraderie.We feel close to those that cry for whatever reason. I don’t mean those self-seeking sorts that cry buckets for attention and think the world revolves around them, but rather those who humbly allow others this glimpse into their inner being, their joy and their sorrow.
Life is all a journey as you stumble through the years,
Sometimes through strife and battle and often lonely tears.
Sometimes through days of sunshine, when the soul within you glows
Sometimes in days of certainty, you know the way to go.
Sometimes in bleak confusion, unknowing steps you trace,
But all in all you’ll get there. You too will win the race.
Not one against the other, in striving to compete,
All pushing on and shoving, thrusting others from their feet.
But hand in hand beguiling, each happy golden hour,
The weak and tired enticing to draw upon your power.
Till that gate arriving, when journey meets its end,
You’ll be a man, my brother, a fortress and a friend.
Sometimes in life, often when down or discouraged, it’s been my privilege, by some strange heavenly device, to catch a glimpse of the fruit of words or actions long forgotten. It has always astounded and encouraged me. Most have little idea just how far that kind word or deed may travel and what wonderful fruit it may bare in the life of others.
“I’m very fond of Jesus Christ. He may be the most beautiful guy who walked the face of this earth. Any guy who says ‘Blessed are the poor. Blessed are the meek’ has got to be a figure of unparalleled generosity and insight and madness…A man who declared himself to stand among the thieves, the prostitutes and the homeless. His position cannot be comprehended. It is an inhuman generosity. A generosity that would overthrow the world if it was embraced because nothing would weather that compassion. I’m not trying to alter the Jewish view of Jesus Christ. But to me, in spite of what I know about the history of legal Christianity, the figure of the man has touched me.” (L.Cohen)
This says a lot about Cohen himself. I always loved his music, reading more about the man since his death I begin to understand why. Many folks had mentioned Jesus to me in my youth, but it wasn’t till someone mentioned that he’d whipped the exploitative money changers out of the temple that that got my attention!
My grandson just surprised us all by getting top marks in his SATs (an 11 year old UK placement test). He has a good mind but has trouble retaining concentration. None of us were expecting he’d do more than scrape by. But it is not of this I wish to speak.
He unexpectedly scored high in another kind of test yesterday. I asked if after school he’d help me get to my allotment and haul the water for me (it’s quite wild and hard to negotiate wearing a surgical boot). We are in the middle of a heat wave and though my allotment friends would water my plot in the circumstances I was not sure how many knew of my accident.
I didn’t know how he’d react. My daughter has a “high flying” job with apple money but little time so tends to pay her kids to do everything. I decided to put him to the test and offer nothing. To my surprise reimbursement was never mentioned, instead he acted the perfect gentlemen lending his arm for the dodgy bits and using his new forming muscle to haul the two big watering cans six times down to the river and back (a 50 yards of windy paths). This whole was exacted without a complaint (that water’s heavy) and total concern encouraging me to rest on the chair during his trips back and forth. Both sweating as we headed for ice-creams (it was over 30 deg. remember) I told him I hadn’t been sure he’d decide to help me. He looked shyly over and said, “of course I’d help you – you’re hurt. You won’t take advantage of that will you?” I assured him I wouldn’t think of it, but I was very happy he’d helped and now the plants wouldn’t die.
He’d passed another kind of test, to my mind an even more important one. I could see, not only was he able to apply his mind when needed, but more importantly he was growing into a caring and compassionate man.
Sometimes in this modern world we can put so much emphasis on IQ and natural abilities, but this kind of test any child can pass and it is, I think, even more important for our planet than SAT scores.
My posts have been tending to get increasingly negative. While idealism and compassion are good and some things need to be exposed, this blog was intended as an expression of praise and gratitude. I need to get back to my original precept.