Pay Attention to the Tears….the Holy is Drawing Near

buechner quote

This past weekend I was driving down Route 8. It was rainy and I was alone in my thoughts as I had a thirty minute drive in a quiet car. Yes, quiet. That doesn’t happen too often.

This story came on the radio and it caught my attention, pulling me out of my head and into the present moment.

Two years ago a 32 year old Texas man was diagnosed with a rare cancer.  On Sept 1st, learning the cancer had spread; he was given 1-2 months to live. He is also a huge Star Wars fan. His wife and friends approached Disney and LucasFilms requesting a special screening of The Force Awakens, knowing that he would most likely not live to see the long awaited release on December 18th. Their request gained momentum under #ForceForDaniel, even drawing the attention of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).

Guess what? JJ Abrams and all those who needed to give approval granted his wish. On Thursday November 5th his wish came true as he and his wife watched an unfinished cut in their home.

As I drove my car and let this story bounce around inside me, I could feel the beginning of strong emotion. Emotion that gave way to tears.

I got to thinking, what is it that is stirring inside me? It is of course an emotional story, but what is underlying that for me?

It is the unexpected. It is the world not working the way it’s ‘suppose’ to. It is justice and compassion colliding.

It is the deep desire in all of us to be seen and known and cared for.

It is the big company that didn’t need to allow him to watch that says yes.

It is the individual who dares to ask.

It is the generous landowner who surprises. And it is the persistent widow who keeps asking.

It is grace.

A sighting of grace.

It is grace that catches our breath and dares us to hope.

“Pay attention to the things that bring a tear to your eye or a lump in your throat because they are signs the holy is drawing near.”

This quote by Frederick Buechner is a favorite. Maybe you know that since I reference it every other month.

And it leaves me wondering why do we so often push aside the first indication of tears? I wonder if I had heard this story with kids in the car, I wouldn’t have listened as attentively. Nor would I have let it affect me at the soul level.

What brings our tears? Sometimes it’s joy. Sometimes it’s sadness. It is the evidence of when something we long for deep in our soul is realized. Or of when something we long for deep in our soul is blocked or denied.

My tears on this day were representative of a deep desire realized. My longing for people to be seen and known and heard. My desire for impact and significance and connection. My value for beauty and justice and freedom. All of these treasures I carry around in my soul, all of them touched on in a minute update on the radio.

Through tears and prayers, God tells me this is good, these desires he has placed in me. My heart comes more alive in this everyday, mundane car ride. I come back home, more ready to engage my children and my husband and my neighbors. More ready to fight for those I love, because I know that all my rumblings of beauty and justice and freedom, they matter.

My desires join his grace. I know I am not walking alone. I know these places I live my life of helping with homework and raking leaves, are not insignificant. They are moments of impact and courage and day by day I choose to live in a way that honors it all.

Pay attention to your tears today. What are they telling you?

And if you don’t have physical tears, pay attention to the moments where your insides tell you they could come if you allowed them.


Linking today with Purposeful Faith  and Words with Winter and Testimony Tuesday

{Photo courtesy of Unsplash}

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  1. Thank you, Melanie, beautifully written. Grateful for your words.

  2. Barbara Dillard says:

    Yes, grace. You captured it beautifully. I will look for more of those a moments in my own life today.

  3. Matthew 19:26 With God all things are possible. Of course we see the amazing Grace when we look to the cross. We see it in big act of kindness but as you say, “choose to live in a way that honors it all” and beautifully written and as always very thought provoking. Just some thoughts I had after reading this; It is also seeing it in the smallest acts of kindness when someone gives us a smile when we look down or upset and asks us how we are doing, or that beautiful morning sky that almost takes the breath away, or seeing our kids small hand print on the windshield at exactly the right moment although it may have been there for months. Everything happens for a reason.

    One evening recently I was putting my 6 year old to bed and we said our prayer and afterwards I said “I love more than anything in this world.” He said “no Dad” I was so confused. I said “What do you mean?” He said “God, Dad;” “You love God more, Dad.” I said “That’s right.” “God is at the center of everything we do.” and I got up and walked out of the room and then came the overwhelming tears of great hope and joy. It was exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right moment. So that is what my tears tell me today, With God all things are possible.

    • Drew- I am so grateful for the ways you are sharing your journey and what God has been up in your life. I love this interaction with your son. We learn so much from our kids.
      Thanks for your encouragement as I write and share.

  4. Kathryn Grossman says:

    Your words are impacting me every time. I love these thoughts about Him and how close He is. You share great quotes. “Pay attention”….consider. He breaks into our lives. I just want more and more! And your post on Friday….the five minute write on “dance”… I thought I’d try it. It didn’t work for me. Until I remembered that the day before i had journaled with some stress and questioning and I “heard” him say “lean in to Me”. I was comforted by the words and then they were confirmed by someone else and I knew it was Him. And what do we do in a dance but lean in?? I’m going to lean in to Him and dance. Thanks for your words and how He has blessed me through them.

    • Kathryn- You have been such an engaging encourager as I wrote for 31 days….and on. Thank you for sharing the impact and how God is speaking to you. Sometimes the writing for 5 minutes takes me in odd directions, sometimes I’ve got nothing, other times I notice God in the midst.

  5. Dolly@Soulstops says:

    I love the Buechner quote and your post…Such a great reminder…Thank you 🙂

    • HI Dolly
      So good to see your name here!!
      This quote is one that comes to mind a lot, and I place I am learning to trust the ways God has made me to respond to Him.

  6. Love this quote! Thank you for sharing it.

  7. Nancy Gladwin says:

    Melanie: I read this last night and your words spoke to my heart. I no longer hide my tears. When God speaks to me there are tears and it’s an outward expression of his inward work in my heart. Thank you for blessing me, and others, with your words.

    • Nancy, this encourages me so much. I love that you say you no longer hide your tears. I have often felt I needed to hide mine. But am learning to trust the ones that speak to my heart…and when God is whispering to me. Thank you for blessing me!!

  8. Melanie, I’m a cryer too. And that Buechner quote…oh so good! I love Buchner!

  9. I am such a cryer! I guess a sap some would say. I have learned to understand when it’s the Holy Spirit speaking to me. I sure do find myself tearing up over a lot of things these days. This is the part that got me. “It is the evidence of when something we long for deep in our soul is realized. Or of when something we long for deep in our soul is blocked or denied.” I feel like these are the tears that are welling up the most lately. Thanks for sharing these wonderful words.

  10. Oh I just love this! First, Frederick Buechner is one of my favorite authors. I’m always moved by everything he writes! Secondly, I love the depth you bring to your writing, inviting us to go deeper into meaning..I will never push back a tear now, I will be sure to inquire about the meaning of a sudden gush! Afterall, tears come from deep places, why would we want to ignore the wisdom they bring! So glad I stopped by from #TestimonyTuesday today! I liked your title!

  11. Karen Sebastian says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. I’ve been crying a lot lately and do indeed feel the Lord is very close as He says to the “brokenhearted.” Thanks for the reminders of the value of tears.

  12. Christina Myers says:

    Melanie, this is beautiful and makes me realize how we all need to slow down and listen for what the Holy Spirit is saying!

  13. bluecottonmemory says:

    Beautiful post. Yes, we so need to be seen – especially seen by him – and sometimes those stories show us that he does see us. I love those rare alone car rides – oh, the places our brains and hearts can go!

  14. I love this post for so many reasons, Melanie! A big tear-trigger for me is anytime elderly people are involved. This post also made me think of my dad. In his later years, he used to tear easily whenever I would share a story of someone in distress, or pictures of his grandchildren. Of course, seeing him tear up would always make me tear up, lol. Until reading your post and the Buechner quote, I had never really thought about why I tear up when I do. What you’ve said makes perfect sense. I’m so glad I stopped by today! Have a blessed week!

  15. Susan Shipe says:

    I don’t cry too often but I am definitely going to pay more attention. I understand this man died shortly after seeing the movie. I pray “The Force”, our Almighty God, knew his name. xo Good, poignant post.

  16. I am a cryer. Especially when I feel the touch of heaven in something. I’d never heard this quote before, but it resonotes so much with me. I saw a scenario the other day that touched me deeply and I wanted to write about it but was unclear why. You have shown me. I will link to you when I write it!

  17. Jason Durham says:

    Thank you for the reminder today. The reminder to let the Holy Spirit lead me in every way. What a beautiful story.
    I found your site on Hope*Writers Facebook Page. I’m looking forward to building relationships with the writers there. My “home” where I write is Walking In My Destiny. I’d be honored to have you visit sometime.
    God Bless!

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