I’m an over analyzer. I can take a situation and analyze possible outcomes until my brain throbs from information. It robs me of the present. It robs me of my sleep. And, more often that not, it just leaves me afraid.
Through a lifetime of trying to calculate every scenario, I have discovered something about myself. When I am scared I often misplace that feeling and rather than show vulnerability, I lash out in anger.
I get scared that I am failing as a parent and instead of speaking softly, I yell. Sometimes I feel insecure about the kind of wife I am being and instead of apologizing to my husband, I pick a fight. Surely I am not the only one guilty of this?
In the middle of this pandemic I have been burdened by an overwhelmingly heavy amount of grief. The conflicting information being hurled in every direction coupled with the sheer uncertainty of it all has completely wrecked me. For an analytical person who thrives best when I know what to expect from point A to point B, this has been a completely unwelcome chaos.
I have cried. Lord, I have cried. I’ve cried out to Jesus when my mind is racing faster than I can keep up. I’ve cried when people share things on social media that threaten my sense of security and freedoms. I’ve cried when people have responded to my fear with sarcasm and hateful comments. I have grieved for the practices my kids are getting to go to and the life that we had just a couple months ago.
The tears have flowed with each article I read about someone losing their loved one to this horrible virus or dying alone. I’ve cried because I miss church and taking my kids to practice. I’ve wept with my children and wept for my friends, dealing with sadness and grief of their own.
But I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t recognize the impact fear has had on me and those around me. For as much as I’ve cried, I’ve also been angry. I’ve taken my fear and done the only thing I know to do with it all. I’ve balled it up into anger because unlike fear, anger seems much more predictable. I have yelled when I should have spoken softly and I’ve been short tempered when I should have responded with grace. And, in this area, I know I am not alone. I see evidence of this same behavior all over my social media and in my own household as well.
In talking to my youngest boy the other night, I realized something and it has been lingering in my heart ever since. Upset with himself for crying, he told me boys shouldn’t cry. I told him that even Jesus, perfection in the flesh, cried. In fact, he didn’t just cry, he wept.
When Jesus wept it was because he saw the sadness of those around him and it moved him to grief. He knew he was going to call Lazarus back from the dead and their sadness would be gone. He was not afraid. Even still, he cried with them. For them. Knowing the outcome did not stop him from experiencing the grief of those he loved.
This verse has wrapped me up so tightly the past few days. It has convicted me down to my bones. We are created in the image of God and so I have to believe that if we are walking in the righteousness of the Lord we should be sharing in the grief of those around us. When we take our shift from Heaven to Earth, we begin to turn on each other. We focus on our outward differences rather than the person behind the different views. And it is so ugly.
At the heart of either side of this thing is fear. One side is fearful of not doing enough and spreading the virus. Some are fearful of freedoms and liberties being taken away. Still others are fearful of it all (it’s me. That’s where I am). It’s lonely. It’s divisive and none of it is from the Lord.
Knowing that Jesus wept in empathy should be the very call to action that we all need. He knew Lazarus would not stay in the grave, he knew they would experience joy again. He didn’t meet their grief and fear with sarcasm and chastising comments. He didn’t make a bad situation worse. He simply understood and took time to share in their pain.
The one thing I know we can all agree on right now is that this is h-a-r-d. We are tired and it’s easy to lose hope. No matter what side of the road you stand on today, won’t you take a minute to weep with your friends? To see past their opinions and look at their heart?
And one more thing, guys. Jesus wept. It’s ok if you do too.