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[A Response to "On Tears"]

Brother Logos wrote:

Tears, in themselves, are neutral. On the purely physiological level, even animals shed tears (which is why the crocodile cries but does not weep and for that matter, the hyena howls but does not laugh).

Perhaps what gives tears their value is that they are ours, and that each drop contains the very meaning of being human. Tears accompany both birth and death, marriage and divorce. They are never only for joy or sorrow, but also for relief or frustration, anger or loneliness, sometimes all of these at the same time.

What lends credence to our tears, what gives them sanctity, is the fact that we are not the only ones who weep. Much has been said about the scandal of God becoming human, but what many miss is that the incarnation not only humiliates the divine but also sanctifies the human. "Nothing human is foreign to Him;" not our angers and frustrations, not our joys and hopes, and most certainly, not our tears.

Tears purge us, renew us. What we think might destroy us ends up sustaining us. Perhaps one must pass through the passage of tears to emerge all the more human.

Perhaps God, too, passes through this passage of tears with us. Elie Wiesel writes in his memoirs:

"A Midrash recounts: When God sees the suffering of His children scattered among the nations, He sheds two tears in the ocean. When they fall, they make a noise so loud it is heard round the world. It is a legend I enjoy rereading. And I tell myself: Perhaps God shed more than two tears during His people's recent tragedy. But men, cowards that they are, refused to hear them.

"Is that, at last, an answer?

"No. It is a question. Yet another question."

For Wiesel and his brethren, the tears of men and the tears of God remain unfathomable questions. For myself (and I pray, for you, too), they are answers as well.

And I hazard to add what Camus says toward the end of "The Myth of Sisyphus":
If the descent is thus sometimes performed in sorrow, it can also take place in joy. The world is not too much. Again I fancy Sisyphus returning towards his rock, and the sorrow was in the beginning. When the images of earth cling too tightly to memory, when the call of happiness becomes too insistent, it happens that melancholy rises in man's heart: this is the rock's victory, this is the rock itself. The boundless grief is too heavy to bear. These are our nights of Gethsemene. But crushing truths perish from being acknowledged. (Camus, "The Myth of Sisyphus," emphasis mine).
This is perhaps why we must imagine both Christ and Sisyphus happy.

Thank you my brother. A pleasure, as always.


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