I cried the other day. As in *really* cried. Ok, I wept. Then I wept again a few days later.
Why? You wonder. Well yes, I have a ‘good’ reason (whatever that means): my husband’s Grandad died. And I hardly knew him – it’s not ‘my loss’ – but he was ace, and now my husband’s family’s lives have all been shaken and there is a painful Grandad-shaped hole in my beloved’s heart. I cried because my Grandad is dead and it made me miss him… I cried for loss. I cried because death is ugly, and rude, and inconsiderate, and reckless. It disgusts me, and offends me, and angers me – and saddens me deeply.
So I wept. But I didn’t weep alone; I cried on the phone with a girlfriend. And she…listened. In near silence (apart from occasional comments to remind me she was there and wasn’t speaking to let cry and not because she’d gone!); she just listened. As I gut-cried: snot, tears, stomach-holding, breath-shortening cried. And she listened.
Do you have the patience to be that generously uncomfortable and listen to pain uninterrupted? No advice, no urging to talk (for whose benefit I wonder), no words of comfort or encouragement – but just to listen? To give in silent companionship a craved shoulder (well a telephonic one in this case!) with no unnecessary words?
And do you cry? I hope so!
Because I hope you *feel*.
I hope you empathise by really connecting, not hypothesising.
And I hope you don’t ‘allow’ and ‘disallow’ yourself to cry.
And I hope that like me, you have a loving friend to listen in your pain.
And that like me you find comfort remembering, as I did in my sobbing, that ‘Jesus wept’ (Luke 11:35) … that’s not ‘Jesus let a solitary tear slide down His face in a manly fashion when His friend died – no: that is snot, tears, stomach-holding, breath-shortening weeping. He understands.