Often times I hesitant to cry because of the stereotype of women who cry. I have learned that being emotional is something to be ashamed of, something that deems me immature and makes my voice invalid. I don’t know a woman who wants to be known as the “emotional one.”
Yet many of the great women and men of the Bible were openly emotional. Even David, the man “close to God’s own heart,” lived on an emotional roller coaster and wrote about it. But while playing sports for most of my life I have been told to grow some tougher skin, because champions don’t get emotional. That no one will ever take me serious in a workspace. That emotions limit my full potential.
Lately God has been revealing to me that my emotions are an open representation of my humanity, and in my weakness He can work in mysterious ways. That God gave me the ability to weep and mourn for a reason. That my emotions are the way I empathize with others. It allows me to express pain, to lament and grieve with those in distress and even begin to understand compassion. I’ve noticed that we as human beings often connect deeper through our suffering than through our joy. It’s those moments when we are overcome with emotional turmoil that we can truly be vulnerable. To be able to grieve with a friend in mourning is truly an honor.
Over the last few years there has been a lot of grief in my family over the pain and loss of those we love. Many of our friends have been stricken with cancer, leukemia, disability, death and tragedy. It has been difficult trying to understand the purpose of all this pain and loss. Why the God that loves us would allow so much grief? Why my prayers for miracles were unanswered? I feel as if I didn’t pray hard enough and now I am to blame for the suffering around me. There is just something so disheartening and confusing about death. Suddenly the things of this world I’ve never understood need to be answered; suddenly I need a justifiable reason for the loss and pain of my loved ones.
It is often in that deep sorrow and confusion that something strangely beautiful can happen. One of our young friends accepted Jesus in a moment with his father, just hours before he left us. It was a day filled with grief, despair, and yet inner peace. Often times in the Christian community I’ve heard people invalidate others loss with good intentions saying things like, “They’re in a better place, you shouldn’t be upset!” But I’ve come to realize that even when I know those who’ve passed away are with Jesus, I need to grieve the loss of their presence.
Here at BayUP, vulnerability in moments of pain have led to deep healing. I often forget that God feels our pain more deeply than we feel our own. That throughout Jesus’ life he wept with those overcome with grief, cried out against injustice, and consoled those in pain. It was the moments when people were vulnerable with Jesus that they knew him intimately and found healing only He could bring. In his powerful message Jesus is teaching me that emotions have the ability to help me validate those in pain, to stop trying to fix their pain and let Jesus bring healing in the moment.
Jessica is a student blogger from the Bay Area Urban Project. Throughout the summer we’ll be posting blogs and reflections written by students on summer projects. This post was written on June 23, and first posted at bayupcloseup.wordpress.com
Photo: © Tim Green, Flickr|CC-BY