I had my emotional armor on all day yesterday. Once I finally went to sleep last night, I fell into the deep sleep of exhaustion. Emotional exhaustion drains you in ways that physical labor never could. I could sense my attitude. It was BAD… I was BA Lighari yesterday. My emotional armor protected me as well as kept a lid on any eruptions.
Class always starts with a devotional. He picked a passage I’d memorized as a child. I was zoning out until he asked what scornful meant – what does it mean to sit in the seat of the scornful – who are those people you don’t want to be around… hmm, not sure I agree with his interpretation but I perked up when someone said – you don’t want to be around “crybabies.”
It rankled me. I guess because I have shed so many tears and know that God collects my tears in His bottle. I guess because I know the value of tears. I was annoyed at the minimization of people whose pain causes them to cry. I have learned that sometimes you just can’t suck it up and the best way for healing is to cry. I’ve also learned that often you need someone to share your pain with…
When I worked in Psychiatric many, many years ago, I worked with a very wise man. He was young. He was brash at times. He was a recovering hippie who had read Saul Alinsky. He really believed the revolution would come. As we would sit in group therapy, he on one side of the room and me on the other, the group would engage in a free flow of pain. Each person had pain, even he and I. As cream rises to the top of a bottle of milk, soon some ones pain would rise. Soon the one whose pain had floated to the top would be asked to pick someone. Pick the person you feel the most comfortable with… often, it was me. I would be the absorber of their pain as their tears flowed. Mascara would stain my shoulder. It was interesting; eventually the tears would stop. They were healing. They were necessary.
Then I thought of Jesus. Was Jesus a crybaby? The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, our Savior, God incarnate wept. Jesus wept over Lazarus. Jesus cried out to His Father in the garden. On the cross, as the willing sacrifice for our sins, the Lamb of God cried out – My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?
I thought a lot about being a crybaby. I don’t know what this person really meant when it was uttered in class. I know it got under my skin. Was it just my mood yesterday? Was it part of the emotional armor? Perhaps. But it caused me to go to the lexicon. It caused me to open my Spurgeon Treasury of David. It caused me to reflect on the subject that makes my heart alive, Biblical scholarship. It even caused an epiphany of sorts. I realized why school has become such a drudgery for me. There is no life in it.
A former professor once said to me, find the thing that makes you alive and do that. He was right. I know what makes me feel alive. It’s ideas. I love to play with them. I love to create them. I love to think deep thoughts that come from a well of insatiable curiosity. New ideas of passionate topics are lacking. Even the scant new ideas fall flat. They have no outlet. My armor has silenced my voice. There is no opportunity to bounce ideas off peers. Ideas are like nostalgia, they need an echo.
Today, I am a crybaby. I am willing to shed my tears of lost hope. I am willing to sit in the ashes of ideas with no outlet. I will get up. Tear do end eventually. Hope may still glimmer. Until then, I will not sit in the seat of the scornful. I will not minimize someone’s pain or tears. Rather, I will absorb your tears because I know they are needful - Today, my armor is off and my shoulder is open.