“Till our grief is fled and gone He doth sit by us and moan.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 – Prayer/Promise
To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die… A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…
Matthew 5:4 – Prayer/Promise
Blessed and enviably happy [with happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who are willing to do the hard work of grieving and mourning, for they shall be comforted!
2 Corinthians 1:3-4a – Prayer/Promise
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement), Who comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction)…
NACR Online Daily Meditation
Jesus pronounced a blessing on people who are courageous enough to grieve. Nothing could be more surprising than this. When we grieve, we often feel like spiritual failures. But God sees things differently. From God’s perspective, mourning is valued. It is an occasion for blessing. It comes with the opportunity for comfort.
To be comforted is to be held in the safety of arms you trust. To be comforted is to weep and rage in the company of someone who loves us. The hard edges of the pain are soothed. Strength and hope return in some measure. Healing begins.
Grieving is a commitment to the hard work of facing reality and allowing ourselves to feel the full range of emotions God has given us. It is painful work. But it is work that is blessed by God.
The Topography of Tears
The Topography of Tears is a study of 100 tears photographed through a standard light microscope. The project began in a period of personal change, loss, and copious tears. One day I wondered if my tears of grief would look any different from my tears of happiness – and I set out to explore them up close, using tools of science to make art and to ponder personal and aesthetic questions.
Years later, this series comprises a wide range of my own and others’ tears, from elation to onions, as well as sorrow, frustration, rejection, resolution, laughing, yawning, birth and rebirth, and many more, each a tiny history.
The random compositions I find in magnified tears often evoke a sense of place, like aerial views of emotional terrain. Although the empirical nature of tears is a chemistry of water, proteins, minerals, hormones, antibodies and enzymes, the topography of tears is a momentary landscape, transient as the fingerprint of someone in a dream. This series is like an ephemeral atlas.
Roaming microscopic vistas, I marvel at the visual similarities between micro and macro realms, how the patterning of nature seems so consistent, regardless of scale. Patterns of erosion etched into earth over millions of years may look quite similar to the branched crystalline patterns of an evaporated tear that took less than a minute to occur.
Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger, and as complex as a rite of passage. They are the evidence of our inner life overflowing its boundaries, spilling over into consciousness. Wordless and spontaneous, they release us to the possibility of realignment, reunion, catharsis: shedding tears, shedding old skin. It’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.
On Another’s Sorrow
Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow’s share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow fill’d?
Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird’s grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear,
And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast;
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant’s tear;
And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
He doth give His joy to all;
He becomes an infant small;
He becomes a man of woe;
He doth feel the sorrow too.
Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by;
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.
O! He gives to us His joy
That our grief He may destroy;
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.