I’ve come to the Table of Tears

I’ve been putting off writing today because I’ve felt too sad, too numb, too messy, too overwhelmed.

There is so much that is good taking place in my life right now, but there are also some very, very painful things occurring. One of my children is experiencing really difficult things, and each day has a heaviness which saps energy and takes away my words.

I have used this space to write about my marriage and I haven’t hidden any of the feelings which I’ve had about it, but somehow this mother grief feels different. It’s felt too private. Too deep. Not something that I could write about. Not something you could hear.

I read this by Esther Emery tonight and it changed my mind on what I would share here

“We sat in a retreat session, at a long shiny wooden table, several dozen writers of Christian faith. We were opening ourselves like packages, shining lights into cupboards. Asking, what does it mean to come awake?

Well, this much I can tell you. All day long our grief was like a drumbeat, underneath the melody of joy. Our song rising, but we couldn’t get it free unless we could somehow unleash lament, alongside and under and beneath the colors of the dogwood tree.

I found myself thinking this. That we of the church, and maybe especially we women of the church, have swallowed our tears.

And why? Because in our deep hearts we know there is no such thing as a small grief. For your beloved child, for a tiny bird, or for a civil war that rips the fabric of a nation. Each and any of these will bring you to the table of lament.

And oh! that table seems so far from grace. It seems so distant from the shining city. It stinks like failure, and it turns the blood like shame. It seems the very opposite of holy.

But I carry this conviction, that we meet one another at that table. And in any of us is Christ. Look, how they wind together, in the air, my grief and yours. This is dangerous work. It unleashes our compassion. It calls us to one another’s aid. It names our humanness, the common thread. It changes hearts.

And it unleashes Christ. Christ victorious, Christ irrational, Christ who makes all things new.

{{You guys. I really actually believe that.}}

( you can, and should, read the post in its entirety here on Esther’s blog)

A few days ago somebody tweeted that when they read The Hope Diaries blog they believe in God.  More than anything I want the words I write to be the story of God, and the story is that He comes in the brokeness, to the broken. He is there when the grief hits the hardest. So that is why I will tell you of my sadness today. I will tell you that since mid-morning today my mind has been restless and my heart has been in pain. I’m carrying the sorrow of my child and like a sherpa walking a mountain path I am trying to make her journey as easy as possible by taking as much of the burden as I can carry.

I’m parenting in the places no books ever prepare you for. 

I’m doing the best I can, but this is not easy.

I am lamenting.

I am lamenting whilst I am also rejoicing. I am grief stricken, whilst I am also smiling. I don’t know any other way to do this.

I’ve come to the table of tears tonight. I’m at the feast. Do you want to come and sit with me here?

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16 thoughts on “I’ve come to the Table of Tears

  1. “I am lamenting whilst I am also rejoicing. I am grief stricken, whilst I am also smiling. I don’t know any other way to do this.” I will come to the table. I’ll sit here with you. I have some of the same kinds of struggles with my son and wish I could make everything better for him. But God is with us and is teaching us but is also upholding and strengthening us. There is much to be thankful for. Thanks for sharing this. I’m sure many will identify with you.

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  2. Is that seat next to you taken? I’ve been called to the same table many times over the past ten years…with various griefs and burdens, but none so heavy as watching in hopelessness as my prodigal child self-destructs. I have found much comfort in the prayers of the saints, and in the consolations of bearing the cross of Christ with Him. Praying for you today, dear one. Lord bless.

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  3. Oh Caiobhe… I will sit with you. Sometimes our journey feels lonely, and it feels long, and our heart is broken over and over again. But we can sit together, shed tears together, hold each other together because God sees the broken hearted. He is close to them, and He is close to you. xx

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  4. Yes I’ll sit with you. It is so important for all of us to gather at the table. With the tears, with the smile etc, it’s the only way I know how to do it too!!

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  5. I sit with you. In 2002 I sat at the table with my adult daughter whose fiancee was heinously murdered by his nephew. I tried to take her pain. I tried to grab her grief but to no avail. But, at the table we sat together, for months and months and months. Then a seed of HOPE was planted and it began to grow. Inklings of joy began to appear in the morning. God is/was/will be faithful in this time with your child – praying right now for you. I love the quote, “A mom is only as happy as her saddest child.” Selah…xo

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    1. I am so sorry to hear of that terrible pain your daughter suffered, and the pain that you experienced as you sat at the table with her. Thanks for the encouragement of the joy to come. I know that God is faithful. Thank you for the reminder of that today. x

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  6. Ditto for me. Parenting is the most humbling, wonderful, difficult, sweet, painful, fulfilling, confusing thing in life. I’m sorry you are going through this. Very courageous of you to write about it.

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  7. I think the church forgets that lament is a part of real life. After all, Jeremiah wrote a whole book called Lamentations. We don’t have to hide our lament – instead we need to be real enough with each other to allow it to be shared. Thanks for sharing our grief. I’m praying for you!

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  8. I can’t imagine the struggles you are going through. My baby is still a baby and I as he fell asleep in my arms tonight. I asked him to stay little forever. It is a lot of work, but so much reward. I don’t want to think of the days to come where life isn’t so easy and fun.

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