My Morning Do . . . Tears

Tears of Grief — Grief of Tears

~~ by tkbrown — ≥∑

28 November 2020 — The worldwide loss associated with the Covid-19 pandemic has, is, and will have far more impact on us as individuals, as families, as communities, as states, as countries, and as a world than we might ever imagine. There is nothing to reference in responding to these losses. Yes, there have been pandemics before, but the world population, the interaction of countries around the world and the commercial interdependence around the world are far greater than ever before, so the impact of this type of phenomena is unprecedented.

The manner in which some of the losses have occurred, the extent of loss one individual must bear, the burden on families trying to somehow fill the shoes of a person, or persons, no longer with them–these are just a few of the personal losses being experienced. Similar losses have occurred in the professional/work realm, and at the governmental realm–and we are far from done with the related losses.

I believe these losses may be part of the impetus behind the need to protest to such extent as we are seeing in society today. There is no visible, touchable culprit causing these losses in our lives. There is not a “person” we can blame and vent upon, because it is not a person who caused the losses. This invisible force is ravaging our world, and the only way we know to let others know how much we are hurting is to savagely molest something that physically represents some other area in which we feel an intangible loss.

I would encourage caution in this approach. The one thing our families, governments, world do not need right now is another area of major loss. We need to shore each other up and find healthy outlets for our grief. A house divided is a house that falls. The same applies to governments and countries. Learn to grieve in healthy ways rather than creating more pain and grief. I know the tendency may be to lash out at the first possible expression of tangible loss. Remember, this only creates layers of losses. Do what you can to relieve the situation rather than add to it.

True grief, the cleansing kind of grief, involves the shedding of tears. If we do not ever cry, we can never release all of the negative. This release allows us to truly hold the good close to our heart. Many times, I have cried for the loss of someone I love. Many other times, I have told myself to “suck it up and be and adult.” Big girls don’t cry is the message I was sending myself. The question is: “Why did I send myself that message?”

Society teaches both girls and boys not to cry. “Big girls don’t cry” and “Big boys don’t cry” are phrases children are taught as they grow. No one wants to deal with a whiney crier, so it is deeply ingrained into a person by adulthood. We all “need” to cry sometimes. When we experience a loss, it is oft important to acknowledge that loss with tears. If we do not do this, we are never truly cleansed of the negativity associated with the loss (i.e., self-talk: “I can’t go on without _____.” “I can’t do this alone.”). There are any number of negative things we may say to ourselves when loss occurs.

This, “big boys and girls don’t cry” is much more deeply instilled in boys than in girls. It is generally acceptable for a woman to cry–sometimes. After all, women are the weaker sex, so we cannot be expected to go through life without crying. Men, on the other hand, have to “suck it up.” The message sent to men says it is never ok for them to cry. To that, I say: “Hogwash!”

All of us need to cry sometimes to release the pain associated with loss. Men hurt, too, when a loss occurs. We need to make a special effort to teach boys and girls it is ok to cry when we are deeply hurt. We also should accept that there are times tears are shed from joy or gratitude–and that is ok too.

The grieving process in the loss of a dear loved one is never complete until tears are shed. If we want to let go of the negative aspects we associate with that person’s leaving us, we must release those associations with our tears.

When my Daddy and Mama died, I didn’t cry at all until the funeral (just before–on the way to it) for Daddy. When the tears started, they would not stop until I had emptied those feelings of loss and–yes, deprivation–I was feeling. I cried so hard it worried so me who were there. I knew I would never be able to see them, hug them, tell them I loved them–ever again. The pain associated with knowing this had to be released. Only then could I know I would always be able to talk to them, because they are both a part of who I am.

Just as God dwells inside me because I am His temple, there are bits of the people I have lost inside me too. It matters not whether they are family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers–whatever the interaction that made us care for them as a person–to some extent, we need to release those feelings of loss. The death of a loved one–other than Mama and Daddy–has never pulled so many tears from me before I could stop them. Yes, I love my siblings–and I cry when they die–but it is not as intense as losing Mama and Daddy. The important thing I must stress here is: the tears did not occur with that intensity again. Yes, I would tear up occasionally; sometimes, I would cry for a minute or two, but I never cried like that again. I released the intensity of the loss with those tears. This left me with the ability to remember the good parts of my life-giving interaction with them–to hold those parts of them close to my heart. It also left me able to meet the responsibilities of job, family, etc. in the days and months that followed.

This need to cry when loss occurs applies to men too. It is not likely they will cry as hard as I did, but they may. It depends on the extent of loss they are feeling. The loss of some loved ones is no less painful for them than for a woman. Society tends to instill the “no tears” approach much more deeply in men. Whether it is the loss of a person, a thing, or a place–either permanently or for a time, tears may need to be shed. The more dearly and more closely held to our heart, the greater the need for tears. This is true for men as well as for women.

I believe this message allowing tears to be shed at times can be conveyed through learning, in books, the media, social studies, and via other means. It can begin during early childhood and progress into adulthood. In this way, we can give each other–both male and female–permission to release the pain through tears. It is when this is not allowed, the grief of tears becomes a negative concept–so we learn to “suck it up, be an adult.”

The grief of unshed tears can be far more damaging to our psyche than tears of grief ever could be. Tears held in and never released may sometimes be seen as anger toward self or others, negative views of self and/or others, or in other ways too difficult to explain or discuss in a brief manner. It can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and require the need for extensive processing to facilitate the healing of release. Whatever the setting, eventually those tears of grief must be shed or the grief of tears begins to become the norm.

If we think we cannot release our grief–that it must be held in until it is gone–we will never allow ourselves to properly grieve. It will not go away if we hold it in. So, if we can ever truly overcome our grief, the freedom and permission to cry will be a part of the path we take to the ultimate, healthy acceptance we desire to achieve. Healthy acceptance will never mean we do not miss the object of our loss. It means we accept the loss and its importance in our lives; we give ourselves permission to grieve for that loss when the need arises. This allows us to move past the grief and back into productivity.

I know, we don’t typically think of our familial and friendship relationships as an area of productivity, but a lack of productivity in these areas means those relationships die. Thus, a lack of interaction with family and friends–when it is within our ability–signals the probability of a loss that has not yet been resolved within. An unwillingness to interact signals that irreparable damage has been allowed to develop at some point in time. If not addressed and worked through (processed)–with or without the other person–healthy relationships are not likely to occur in the future because there will be a lack of trust. This lack of trust will impede the closeness of all relationships.

So, when loss occurs, give yourself permission to cleanse the unhealthy pain by allowing the tears to wash it away. Holding that pain in will cause its own grief–separate and apart from the loss. Big girls and boys do cry sometimes. These tears allow us to go on meeting other responsibilities so long as they do not dominate our life. Don’t allow your tears of grief to become the grief of tears not released.

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Sources:

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth & D. Kessler. (2014). On Grief & Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss. Scribner. New York.

Kirby, Stephanie. Med. Rev. by Santa, Melinda. (17 September 2020). “The 7 Stages of Grief and How They Affect You.” betterhelp at betterhelp.com. Mountain View, California: betterhelp.com. (28 November 2020). https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/grief/the-7-stages-of-grief-and-how-they-affect-you/?utm_source=AdWords&utm_medium=Search_PPC_c&utm_term=_b&utm_content=80082676786&network=g&placement=&target=&matchtype=b&utm_campaign=6459244691&ad_type=text&adposition=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwqrb7BRDlARIsACwGad7NNf5XmV3-_em0YWLV2asKoQx8ZSJ4JJZ5K4bxBrDIFplE2zwlaWoaArSQEALw_wcBl.

Eds. Web MD. Reviewed By: Goldberg, Joseph, MD. (13 April 2018). Grief and Depression. WebMD at webmd.com. (28 November 2020). https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-grief#3.

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Photo Above: by pen_ash at pixabay.com.

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My Morning Do . . . Down on the Farm — II

~~ by tkbrown —

27 November 2020 — One of my Daddy’s favorite stories to tell of my childhood was a day we were all outside, gathered round bunches of corn that had been allowed to harden on the cob. This corn was used for grain to be fed the chickens and other animals. I remember, Daddy kept a huge wooden barrel outside the fence of the pig sty. When we were fattening a hog for butchering, he kept sour-mesh in this barrel. The sour-mesh stunk–oooooohhh, did it stink–due to the fermenting process taking place. At the time, I did not understand the reason behind that odor. I just knew it stunk. Some of the corn we had in the midst of our circle on this particular day would later make its way into one of those barrels of sour mesh.

I was about four years old, so all but a couple of the older siblings were still at home. We, along with Mama and Daddy, were outside, circled around a pile of corn with the shucks still on. We were shucking corn. One of the neighbors drove by enroute to see someone further down the road. As he was driving back toward his home, he noticed we were still engaged in the shucking process, so he pulled into the drive, got out and ambled over to where we were gathered. As he talked, we continued with our work. After a while, I looked up at him for a bit, then back to the cob of corn I was shucking. After repeating this observation process several times, Daddy said I reached into the pile of corn, pulled out two cobs, one for myself, and the other I handed to our neighbor. I told him, “Everybody works at our house,” then continued with my work. Daddy said our neighbor continued talking, looked at me briefly, then shucked the ear of corn, made his excuses and left.

One of my chores during these early years was to feed the chickens. During evening chore time, I would meet Daddy at the feed house, and he would give me a bucket of mixed grains and pellets. I would take the bucket to the general area where we fed the chickens and commence calling to them. “Heeeeeerrrreee chiiiiiccccckkkeeeeee. Heeeeeerrrreee chiiiiicckkkkeeeee.” I would begin slowly taking handfuls of feed and dribble it over the ground as I walked in odd-shaped circles. The chickens came running. By the time I dropped the last of the feed from the bucket, most of it had already been consumed. Those chickens obviously relished this treat at the end of the day.

Then, Daddy–or one of my older siblings–would go round the farm with me looking for eggs. There were some places where the hens laid their eggs regularly. Occasionally, one of the hens would strike out on her own in an attempt to find a place to lay a bunch of eggs and set on them. These settin’ hens wanted to raise a brood of baby chicks. Most of the time we would find them, shew them off the nest, and get the egg(s). The hen would continue to lay and try to set on the eggs. Sometimes, she would move her nest and finally succeed.

During calving season–when the cows were birthing babies–as the calves reached weaning age they would be fed with bottles. At this time, the cow would return to being milked with the other milk-cows. They ate their grain while being milked. Milk was taken from the bulk for the calves until they were placed on a special feeding formula which was mixed with water to replace the milk in the bottles. This continued until time to either take them to the sale barn or to mingle their feedings with the haying of the general non-milking herd.

When the weaning process began, the calves were separated from the general herd so they would not feed on the mother’s milk. They would pasture in a different area during this time. As the calves grew older, we would oft have to go find them at end of day as feeding time neared. Usually, they roamed the pasture together, so it was not typically difficult to find them. A few years later, after I had started school, it became one of my chores to find the calves and bring them in for feeding.

During these early years, we cooked on a wood cookstove. So, it was also my responsibility to help carry in kindling and wood to fuel the fire while we cooked. In winter, when we also heated with wood, I was to help carry in heating wood too. At the time, I did not realize it, but this method of cooking is truly an art–especially as it pertains to baking. The oven on a wood cookstove has a temperature gage on the door. The fire in the fire box has to be kept at a steady burn to keep the oven temperature constant. This burn in the fire box is managed by feeding wood into the fire and by manipulating the damper on the pipe which exits the house via the flue.

When one grows into the cooking process in the presence of someone who manages the fire for cooking, it becomes second nature and is not viewed as requiring particular skill–but skill it does indeed require. Looking back on those years, I can see what a talent this would take. As I learned to cook on that wood cookstove, I thought nothing of it. By the time I was nine, I was quite adept at baking in that oven and tending the fire to keep the temperature constant.

So, by the age of seven or eight, growing up on a farm during the mid-twentieth century, I had learned to help with the gardening and with preserving the produce in whatever form it would be needed at a later date. That corn we were shucking earlier was also shelled from the cob so it could be bused as grain for the animals without having to stop and shell it then. I had learned to feed some of the animals, to gather eggs from the chickens and to bring in kindling and firewood for the cookstove and for the heating stove during colder months. Thus, my comment to the neighbor was never meant to be rude. It was the blatant honesty of a four-year-old who had been taught everyone works together when living on a farm.

The Healing Power of Faith

~~ a devotional ~~

~~ by tkbrown — ≥∑

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief, for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move and nothing will be impossible for you.'”

Holy Bible (New King James Version)Matthew 17:20

If faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain, what can faith do for us in our daily lives? How many times have you said to yourself, “If I could just _____.” Fill in the blank with whatever you may have desired. This is not to say if we ask for a million dollars with an undying faith, we will receive it. We probably won’t, but not because we didn’t have adequate faith.

Perhaps when we do not get the object of our prayers, we ask in the wrong spirit, or we ask for the wrong thing, or maybe we just are not ready for that prayer to be answered. For example, if I ask for something that will lead me astray, I may or may not get it. If I do get it, it will test my resolve to serve God and Jesus. Perhaps God is using my prayer and the object of my desire to refine my faith, making it purer by skimming off the sin associated with that request. The refinement will only occur if I survive the “smelting process,” remaining true to my faith in God throughout or–if I have given in to temptation–returning to that faith at some point in a spirit of repentance.

Sometimes, when we are “too sure of our faith,” we stray because our faith has been placed in ourselves instead of in Jesus Christ and God in heaven above. Sometimes–during this “faith in ourselves”–we fail the refinement process because we have placed our faith in another person or persons rather than in Jesus Christ’s ability to carry us through any storm.

Putting our faith in another follower of Christ–or group of followers– can take the wind from beneath our wings if those brothers and sisters in Christ fail us in a time of true need. It is during such times that we must keep our “eye” on Christ in order to receive His guidance and strength. If I have never truly strayed before, this might be just what is needed for me to realize the depth of my sin and my need for forgiveness. Sometimes, when we are too certain of our faith, we have to fall hard before we can renew that faith by repenting and begging God’s forgiveness.

Then again, there are times when the sin in our lives prior to repentance and the receiving of God’s forgiveness was so great there is no doubt in our mind of our need. Prior to his conversion, Paul (then Saul) of Tarsus had set about destroying the followers of Christ. Truly believing he was doing what God wanted, Paul put everything he had into the effort. Then, he was stricken blind when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. This gave him a few days to think about his past and what he had been doing.

When Ananias came to him and instructed Paul in what he must do, he repented and was baptized immediately (Acts 9:1-22).

Acts 9:1-22 (NKJV)

  • 1 — “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest”
  • 2 — “and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”
  • 3 — “As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven.”
  • 4 — “Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?'”
  • 5 — “And he said, “Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'”
  • 6 — “So he, trembling and astonished, said, ‘Lord, what do You want me to do?’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do‘”
  • 7 — “And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.”
  • 8 — “Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.”
  • 9 — “And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.”
  • 10 — “Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias, and to him the Lord said in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.'”
  • 11 — “So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus for behold, he is praying.'”
  • 12 — “‘And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.'”
  • 13 — “Then Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.'”
  • 14 — “‘And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.'”
  • 15 — “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.'”
  • 16 — “‘For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My names sake.'”
  • 17 — “And Ananias wen his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'”
  • 18 — “Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.”
  • 19 — “So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.”
  • 20 — “Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.”
  • 21 — “Then all who heard were amazed, and said, ‘Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?'”
  • 22 — “But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ.”

After this time, Paul was even more zealous for Christ’s cause than he had been against it prior to the forgiveness received when he was appointed the replacement apostle for Judas Iscariot. Later, in Chapter One, Verse Fifteen of Paul’s First Letter of instruction to Timothy, he said: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” In this statement, Paul told Timothy he had “seen the light” regarding the ill-founded reasoning of his past and was not ashamed to admit his wrongdoing because his forgiveness proved Jesus purpose for coming to this earth.

The devotional scripture I have chosen today (below) reveals a faith that would move mountains. This woman had suffered female problems for twelve years. She and been to doctor after doctor and had suffered many treatments–some of them apparently quite painful–to no avail. The only thing she had to represent her faith in doctors was destitute poverty.

When this woman heard about Jesus healing the sick, the maimed, and the demon possessed, she knew she would be healed if it were possible to merely touch the garment He wore. She knew she would not need Him to touch her, she would be healed by the power in the garment He wore. Upon learning Jesus was in the area, she pressed through the crowds surrounding Him and . . . finally . . . she managed to touch the hem of His garment. Immediately, she was healed. Immediately the flow of blood stopped!

When Jesus turned and asked, “Who touched Me?” she just knew she was in trouble. She tried to shrink away and hide–then, He looked here in the eye. She knew, He knew it had been her. So, she went forward and fell at His feet. Tearfully she told of her lengthy plight and her faith she would be healed if she could only touch His garment. She needed not disturb Him, she would be healed by the power in His garment.

When Jesus heard her reasoning behind touching His robe, He said “her faith had healed her,” and He told her to “go in peace.” Can you imagine her relief at the understanding of His forgiveness and of the fact that her faith in Him had saved her? What an example for those of us looking for a source of strength in this day and time! We need look no further than the example this woman provides. Whatever our need, whatever our ailment, whatever our weakness, He will heal us if only we believe.

I pray our hearts will always be open to the guidance and strength Jesus provides if only we believe He can and will. I cannot count the times this has been proven in my life, and I am thankful for each. I know I have sinned and come short of God’s glory. I know Jesus forgiveness for that sin and His guidance will pull me through and into heaven at day’s end. It is my prayer that each person reading this devotional can see the same in his or her life. For those who are not quite there yet, I pray somehow the path can be seen and followed before it is too late.

Blessings, and for those in America and those who join us in spirit this week, Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for Christ, for His forgiveness, and for His loving guidance when I get out of my own way. For what are you thankful this holiday week? Please feel free to share in the comments below.

Mark 5:25-34 (NKJV)

  • 25 — “Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years.”
  • 26 — “and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.”
  • 27 — “When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment.”
  • 28 — “Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.”
  • 30 — “And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched My clothes?'”
  • 31 — “But His disciples said to Him, ‘You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?””
  • 32 — “And He looked around to see her who had done this thing.”
  • 33 — “But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.”
  • 34 — “And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.'”

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Wind Beneath My Wings – lyrics – BETTE MIDLER

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I know this song may not have been written to reflect faith in Jesus Christ, but it perfectly describes my faith in Him. He is “everything I would like to be” and He is “the wind beneath my wings.” Only with His love, support, strength, and guidance will I be able to be true to my quest of serving God. Listen to the song and apply the words to a faith in Jesus Christ. Let me know what you think. Do you think they can describe faith in Jesus Christ?

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Source: Holy Bible — New King James Version (NKJV)

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Photo Above: by Brigitte @ Unsplash.com.

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